Monday, October 26, 2020

Escalating costs of road mishaps worry MVA

BY CEDRIC SWANKA

The Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVA) says it is concerned by escalating costs incurred due to road related accidents running into millions of pula.

Responding to enquiries by the The Sunday Standard, the MVA fund Corporate Communications Manager, Thabo Morotsi, says road traffic crashes are becoming a pandemic posing a threat to health and socio economic wellbeing of citizens. Road crashes cost the fund around a P150 million annually.

Morotsi says road traffic injuries and deaths have a negative financial impact on the fund as they result in escalation in claim costs.

Claim costs on a yearly basis exceed the annual Fuel levy and Third Party insurance collections which are the primary source of income for the fund. Nevertheless the fund is still stable to deliver on its mandate Morotsi says.

The fund has seen claim costs hovering around P239.5 million in 2016 after 3019 claims were lodged. P142.5 million was paid out for the year 2017 upon receiving 2934 claims. Last year 2850 claims were lodged and the cost of such claims is still to be determined as the MVA awaits audited financials.

Annual road safety promotion budget is in the region of P8 million covering aspects of road safety promotion such as road safety campaigns, road shows, community engagement programmes, stakeholder collaborations as well as electronic and print media advertising.

Majority of people involved in road related accidents are between 21 and 45 years which is a crucial group contributing to the economy, Morotsi says.

He says the MVA has observed that men in Botswana are the most affected by road related accidents compared to women.

He adds that though the MVA has no readily available statistics year on year, the ratio of men to women stands at 70 percent to 30 percent.

Though the figures are yet to be finalised pending Police validation process, only 457 roads related accidents have been recorded to date for the year 2018. Whereas the previous year 2017, 444 road related accidents were recorded and the year 2016 was at 450 road related accidents.

Morotsi further highlighted that in a year road related accidents are most common whenever on weekends, month ends and festive holidays.

The months of January and February have the least number of road related accidents being recorded.

“As a fund we urge all road users to be cautious on the road and to obey the road rules to save lives,” he says.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG), which Botswana has adopted, has established a Road Safety Trust Fund.

The UN says some 90 percent of the world`s road fatalities occur in low and middle income countries.

The purpose of the Road Safety Trust Fund is to spur action that saves live and prevent the loss of opportunity associated with road accidents. The UNSDG aims to reduce by 50 per cent by 2020 the number of people killed and injured in road traffic crashes.

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