The Private Sector Road Safety Forum (PSRSF), MVA Fund, City of Windhoek, Nampol Traffic Department and National Road Safety Council officially launched the scholar patrol programme at Peoples Primary School (PPS) in Katutura on Thursday, 14 June 2018.

This is the 10th Primary School in Windhoek to have joined the school road safety programme aimed at reducing motor vehicle crashes and resultant injuries or fatalities around schools as well as instilling general safe road usage by learners.

According to a joint statement issued by PSRSF, in excess of 100 young people aged between zero (0) and fifteen (15) succumb to motor vehicle crashes annually of which may occur while walking to and from school. It is every child’s right to be safe whilst using the road, but this is not the case on Namibian roads as statistics recorded by the Fund between January and May 2018, show that 14.2% of those who lost their lives in motor vehicle crashes belonged to the age group of zero (0) to fifteen (15).  Furthermore, statistics reveal that 42% of those crashes were pedestrian-related with children between the age group of zero (0) to fifteen (15) accounting for 19% of total pedestrian-related crashes.

It should be noted that most crashes involving school-going children occur within close proximity of such schools due to the vulnerability of these children and unforgiving road environment around schools. The scholar patrol programmes were therefore introduced in a bid to create a safer road environment around PPS.  Additionally, pedestrian crossings were painted at both entrances of the school and the speed limit reduced from 40km/h to 30km/h.

To ensure as many school-going children as possible are safe around school, the PSRSF and its partners plan to roll-out the programme to all permissible primary schools in the North-Western part of Windhoek, as well as David Guibeb Primary School in Mariental, by December 2018.

Reiterating its role in ensuring safer roads for all, the Windhoek City Police commended the school, road safety partners and the media for their involvement in promoting road safety and committed itself to reduce all speed limits around school zones from 40km/h to 30km/h.  Furthermore, the City Police urged the community, especially those living in areas where there are no scholar patrols or pedestrian crossings, to assist children and elderly persons to cross the road and to report or expose any unsafe road behaviour to the Police.

Thanking those that were behind this great initiative, a school representative expressed his gratitude stating that “had this initiative been implemented earlier, the recent accident in which one of our pupils lost his life, would have been prevented. However, this will bring about future positive impact to the school.”