Crashes cost millions

14 October 2019 | Accidents

Injury grants totalling more than N$21 million and funeral grants of N$2.5 million have been paid out by the Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA) Fund in the first nine months of this year.

The MVA Fund confirmed on Friday that 444 people had died on Namibian roads between 1 January and 29 September. A total of 360 funeral grants, of N$7 000 each, were paid out.

The most recent crash statistics show that 455 people died in crashes between January and 6 October. Should all claims be submitted, the MVA Fund could fork out more than N$3.1 million in funeral grants.

Compared to last year, fatalities on Namibian roads have shot up by 10%, with 455 deaths this year compared to 414 during the same period in 2018.

The number of crashes declined by 6% though - from 2 891 last year to 2 704 this year in the period under review.

The number of injuries also declined by 6%, with 4 680 people injured in crashes between January and 6 October 2018, and 4 412 this year during the same time.

In terms of injury grants, the claims submitted by 1 282 beneficiaries to the fund between January and 29 September amounted to N$21 million.

The fund offers injury grants of up to N$100 000 depending on the nature and severity of the injuries.

Between January and September, the fund paid over N$133 million to medical service providers in respect of those injured in crashes. This amount may include figures from the previous year, the MVA Fund underlined.

In addition to this amount, the fund accepted liabilities of N$81.2 million between January and September, which provided for health services, including rehabilitation, hospitalisation, specialists, radiology and other auxiliary services.

Injured people are also eligible for loss of income grants, limited to N$100 000 per person. Of the people injured this year, only 14 claimed during the nine months under review.

The fund received 39 claims for loss of support by dependents who lost breadwinners in car crashes, for which the fund can pay out a maximum of N$100 000 per family.

A 2018 World Bank study, titled 'The High Toll of Traffic Injuries: Unacceptable and Preventable' warned that road accidents pose a serious developmental challenge that comes with a steep price tag.

The study underlined that addressing road traffic accidents, injuries and deaths is not only a transport sector challenge, but a challenge that affects overall health, wellbeing and economic growth in a country.

The study emphasised the importance of including health planners and public health officials, noting that “road traffic injury prevention should be regarded as a key pillar of the health agenda”.

The study found that 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”.

In December 2018, the World Health Organisation found that roughly 1.35 million people die each year in road accidents globally, underlining further that more than half of all road traffic deaths are among vulnerable road users: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists.

The WHO noted that fatal road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for children and young adults aged 5-29 years globally.

The WHO stated that crashes cost most countries 3% of their gross domestic product.

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