The Botswana Police has expressed concern about the exponential growth rate in road fatalities and injuries in the country, particularly the busy highways.
Botswana Police Director of Traffic branch, Senior Assistant Commissioner Bruno Paledi, said figures from January to August this year stand at 230 for fatal accidents out of which 300 people lost their lives.
He added that last year there were 250 deaths.┬á
Paledi said that amongst the highways, the A1 is the most affected road. He stated that the police statistics further show that for most of these accidents, the youth are the most affected as both road traffic victims and perpetrators.
“There are signs that alcohol impairment is clearly evident, especially from the manner of driving,” said Paledi.
According to Paledi, they intend to conduct a number of targeted operations focusing on alcohol and speeding offences across the country. He revealed that the first operation is scheduled for the number two police district and it is called “operation life saver”.
Paledi said it will be run from September 2-4 this year and followed by many other districts during the remainder of the financial year.┬á
He said the operation will mainly be centered on three major villages of Serowe, Palapye and Mahalapye as well as the entire stretch of the A1 highway in the form of sobriety check-points and highway speed relay operations.
“The designs of some roads have led to many road accidents and some accidents are avoidable,” said Paledi. Police Deputy Director-Traffic Division, Katlholo Mosimanegape, has revealed that the police have a total number of nine mobile alcohol testing stations, ‘booze bus’,┬á of which three will be based in the north, three in the south central and three in the southern part of the country. Mosimanegape said the buses have advanced technology and equipment, such as alcohol breathalyzer, computers, office furniture and a mini jail.┬á He said the mobile alcohol testing buses will operate 24 hours parked aside of the road, adding that they will no longer take people to the police stations.
“MVA donated these buses as our biggest partner with the aim to avoid drinking and driving,” said Mosimanegape.
He echoed Paledi’s words and stated that they will be looking beyond offences to provide road safety messages and guidance to the motorists.┬á He said the past operations have yielded not only road safety but other security gains ranging from drugs to cash and arms interceptions by the police.