Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Assessment of the Effectiveness of Road Safety Programmes in Namibia: Learners' Perspective

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Assessment of the Effectiveness of Road Safety Programmes in Namibia: Learners' Perspective

Article excerpt

Abstract

Road traffic injuries have become a global health and development problem. Global research indicates that road travel puts people at the greatest risk of injury. Road crash rates remain high in developing countries, and Namibia is no exception, as road crashes continue to cause untold suffering to families and rob the country of productive citizens. This paper presents the findings of investigative research on road safety, with specific focus on the effectiveness of road safety programmes. The study was commissioned by the National Road Safety Council of Namibia (NRSC) in March 2011 to the University Central Consultancy Bureau (UCCB) of the University of Namibia (UNAM). The authors of this paper were the main consultants of the project study. The findings from this study show a high percentage of self-reported awareness of road safety among road users. However, there is a low percentage in awareness of specific campaigns and programmes, which is a cause for great concern. The study further found that there are many different road safety awareness campaigns and a number of road safety measures being implemented by different stakeholders. However, there is need for appropriate guidance in the implementation of these awareness campaigns. This paper presents only the perspectives of learners, as stakeholders, towards the effectiveness of road safety programmes in Namibia. Given the above purpose, the study, therefore, trusts that the results, conclusions and recommendations will inform road safety campaign designers on how to effectively and efficiently craft road safety campaigns and programmes aimed at road user behaviour change to improve road safety. Equally, the findings should influence other designers of behaivior change road safety messages in the area of mass communication in general.

Keywords: assessment, road safety awareness, National Road Safety Council of Namibia, campaigns/programmes

INTRODUCTION

The National Road Safety Council of Namibia (NRSC) is a statutory body under the Ministry of Works and Transport (MWT) established in terms of Section 2 of the National Road Safety Act, Act 9 of 1972. Among its main functions, the NRSC carries out research to effect road safety, gives guidance with regard to road safety by means of mass communication/awareness campaigns based on: usage of safety belts, saying no to drinking and driving, sticking to the prescribed speed limits and resting regularly. Other institutions that are actively involved in the promotion of road safety are the Motor Vehicle Accident Fund (MVAF) and the Roads Authority (RA) of Namibia.

According to the NRSC (2006), all over the world, the consequences of road traffic accidents continue to be a drain on the scarce financial resources of nations in terms of the carnage, damage to vehicles, medical costs, and most of all, unquantifiable loss of lives. In Namibia, just like elsewhere in the world, coordinated efforts to reduce road traffic crashes have been undertaken and geared towards awareness campaigns and traffic law enforcement.

A study that was conducted by the NRSC (2006) in collaboration with Namibia Economic Policy Research Unit (NEPRU) found that the main media through which the public received the messages in all campaigns was the TV, followed by radio. A strong message that came from the respondents of this study was that law enforcement agencies should be at the forefront in ensuring safety on the road. Some felt that others should do more. The report recommended, among other things, the need for continued public education campaigns using various media, both print and electronic, such as TV, radio, stickers, leaflets, posters, billboards and newspapers, on road safety. According to the report, the NRSC can accomplish this by joining hands with other institutions that also conduct road safety campaigns in the country, such as the RA, MVAF, GRSP (Global Road Safety Partnership) and WHO (World Health Organization). …

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