The proposed initiatives to improve road safety are an excellent start to the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety, says Orapeleng Mosigi, Director of the Department of Road Safety.
“This is great news for road safety, considering that road crashes are killing approximately 500 people in our country and many are injured,” said Mosigi.
He said the coming ten years, in line with the decade of action for road safety 2011- 2020, will see the department focusing on improving the key areas of education, vehicle testing, driving training and enforcement.
Botswana currently has a high road traffic fatality rate at 33.8/100,000 population just above average for Africa. According to Mogisi, over the past year, with improved law enforcement, the fatality total in Botswana has been reduced from 475 to 397 deaths.
“The launch of the Decade of Action in Botswana has itself been a great achievement. We now have a strategic plan for road safety where we didn’t have one before and we are aiming for a 50 percent reduction in fatalities by 2020, but hopefully we will even exceed this target,” said Mosigi.
The department has drafted the driving instructors and driving schools regulations by which they will regulate driving schools and instructors to ensure quality drivers are produced.
“The law will help spell out all the details needed depicting the ideal driver training industry and how it should be regulated,” he said. Further, Mogisi said proper syllabus in driving schools will be followed which covers defensive driving.
In addition, the department has announced that all vehicles will be inspected for road worthiness and also conduct roadside checks.
“All vehicles are to comply with roadworthiness standards, from time to time, we will deploy our mobile testing stations along highways and inspect vehicles,” said Mogisi.
He revealed that during the festive season, transport inspectors and vehicle examiners with their mobile testing equipment will be deployed along the highways to test vehicles for road worthiness.
“Botswana is on track to achieve the decade of action for road safety,” said Mogisi.