Accidents eat into GDP

Governments pay a very high price for not ensuring that road safety is a priority exercise for any country with chunks falling away from the gross domestic product.

02 May 2018 | Accidents

As the latest year-to-date crash statistics for Namibian roads show a decrease of nearly 35% in fatalities compared to last year for the same period, a World Bank study on the high costs of traffic accidents warns that road accidents are a developmental challenge that come with a steep price if not tackled urgently by a cross-section of stakeholders.

The World Bank study, titled 'The high toll of traffic injuries: Unacceptable and preventable', is a landmark study that took an in-depth look at both the potential economic benefits and aggregate social welfare gains in reducing road traffic injuries in low- and-middle income countries.

The study results for the transport sector “are humbling and underscore the responsibility the sector has towards the sustainable development agenda”, according to the publication.

It warns however that road traffic injury prevention is “not a transport challenge, it is a development challenge with strong impact on health, wellbeing and economic growth”.

The authors say that the results, for health planners and public health officials, “make it clear that road traffic injury prevention should be regarded as a key pillar of the health agenda.”

The study notes that overall, developing countries have made significant strides in reducing the proportion of communicable diseases, maternal deaths, and nutritional diseases, and are making strides in dealing with non-communicable diseases.

“However, the benefits linked to reducing road injuries are yet to be realised.”

The study outcomes indicate that road traffic injuries or deaths will not be reduced in a significant way “unless we bring a wide range of stakeholders around the same table”.

The report notes that achieving the developmental goals of halving road injuries or more, would not be a victory only for the transport sector, but “a significant milestone for global development, with far-reaching benefits for public health, wellbeing and economic growth.”

Looking better

According to the most recent statistics issued by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund, fatalities on Namibian roads between January and 15 April this year totalled 126, compared to 193 during the same period last year.

The total number of crashes for the period decreased by 15.9% this year, from 1 108 in 2017 to 932 this year. Injuries dropped by 15.5% for the same periods under review, from 1 744 to 1 473.

Findings from the World Bank study indicate that reducing road traffic injuries in half could translate into an additional 15% to 22% of GDP per capita income growth over 24 years for a country.

The study noted that failing to meet the UN Sustainable Development goal target to halve road deaths by 2020 “accrues to about two to three percentage points in unrealised per capita GDP growth for low- and middle-income countries.”

The publication warns that the impact on national income is only half the story.

“Aside from their direct impact on the national product of a country, road traffic injuries also cause individual and social welfare losses that cannot be ignored.”

The study warns that if the high number of road crashes are not reduced, taxpayers will fork out anywhere between 6% and 32% of the country's GDP to mitigate those effects.

The study calculated these percentages would apply over a period of 24 years.

A 2016 paper published by the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) on road crashes in Namibia cautioned similarly that the costs of the high rate of crash statistics “extend far beyond the families and communities of those directly affected and are ultimately borne by wider society and government.”

The LAC pointed out that hundreds of millions of Namibian dollars are spent each year in the aftermath of road accidents.

“The total figure has been estimated to equate to a staggering 3% of annual GDP.”

The LAC highlighted that both the public service and private sector is impacted and that the majority of road deaths affect individuals between the ages of 21 and 45.

Globally, an estimated 1.25 million people are killed on road's each year and between 20 million and 50 million are seriously injured.

Further, road traffic accidents are the single largest cause of death or long-term disability among people aged 15 to 19 years old and their impact is also considerable among working-age people.

JANA-MARI SMITH

Similar News

 

Road users more mature

1 month - 08 January 2019 | Accidents

JANA-MARI SMITH Road-safety advocates agree that the festive season coming to an end this week has seen a drastic improvement in road...

Netha's family reeling in shock

1 month - 08 January 2019 | Accidents

An aunt of the deceased student Dexter Netha, 19, says there are no funeral arrangements as yet.Netha's body washed ashore on Friday morning near Long...

50 survive crash

1 month - 07 January 2019 | Accidents

Three vehicles, including a bus, were involved in an accident on the Otjiwarongo-Okahandja Friday night.More than 50 people survived the accident which occurred around 20:37...

Fire leaves another family homeless

1 month - 03 January 2019 | Accidents

A family of six from Rundu's Tutungeni suburb were left homeless on Tuesday afternoon when their three-bedroom home burned down. Ernestine Nkotongo (19) said...

Crash victims named

1 month - 03 January 2019 | Accidents

The names of two police officers who died in a head-on collision on the Rundu-Katima Mulilo highway last Friday have been released.The deceased are 50-year-old...

Shocking crashes claim lives

1 month - 28 December 2018 | Accidents

Early on Sunday morning, three people died in a horror crash that involved a staggering 31 people. About 23 kilometres north of Otjiwarongo, a minibus...

Two killed on Kombat track

1 month - 25 December 2018 | Accidents

Two men died instantly after a TransNamib train pulling 60 empty tankers ran over them in the early hours of yesterday morning at Kombat in...

Storm leaves family homeless

1 month - 20 December 2018 | Accidents

A family of ten from Mayana village in Kavango East Region were left homeless after a storm destroyed their homestead on Tuesday. When Namibian...

Bodies recovered from Orange River

1 month - 19 December 2018 | Accidents

The bodies of four girls who drowned in the Orange River on Sunday have been found by police divers. The victims - aged 13,...

Horror crash claims four

2 months ago - 14 December 2018 | Accidents

Four people died in a horrific accident on the Okahandja-Karibib road last night. According to police spokesperson, Chief Inspector Kauna Shikwambi, the accident occurred at...

Latest News

Hostel a threat to lives

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Education

The Kavango West education directorate continues to subsidise a dilapidated church hostel at Nkurenkuru, despite a 2010 directive by the health ministry that it must...

Foreign graduates protest 'unfair' tests

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Health

Dozens of foreign-trained medical and dentistry graduates took to the streets yesterday to protest against a pre-internship exam which they claim is unfair and discriminatory.One...

FirstRand Namibia fights back

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Business

Jo-Maré Duddy – FirstRand Namibia bounced back to positive profit growth in the six months ended 31 December 2018 after taking a knock in the...

Our people sustain our group

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Engaged employees help establish better relationships with customers, since staff are the ones who are actually in contact with customers. This is why FirstRand Namibia...

NaCC scrutinises fuel imports

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Business

The Namibia Competition Commission (NaCC) is requesting input from interested and affected parties on the reinstatement of the National Petroleum Corporation of Namibia's (Namcor) intent...

Our Achilles heel of accountability

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Columns

Enforcing greater accountability has always been an Achilles heel for the Namibian government over the years. Questions have been raised over whether there is indeed...

RA, Unam sign MoU

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Business

Justicia Shipena On 12 February, the Roads Authority (RA) and the University of Namibia (Unam) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at the RA’s...

Mutorwa’s journey with science

1 day - 15 February 2019 | People

Justicia Shipena Marius Mutorwa is a lecturer at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (Nust) in the department of health...

Witbooi artefacts coming

1 day - 15 February 2019 | Cultural

The arts and culture ministry has dismissed claims by the Nama Traditional Leaders Association (NTLA) that repatriating the bible and whip of the late Nama...

Load More