Miss Africa USA 2010: Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon
Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon.

Miss Africa USA 2010: Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon


Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon: Over 1.3 million people die through road accidents worldwide every year, about 85% of this comes from Africa!

By Miss Africa USA 2010
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First published: January 18, 2010

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School/Institution: Texas Southern University

Major/minor: Accounting

Giving back: My charitable networks are linked to two organisations namely shaping destiny(www.shapingdestiny.org) based in Cameroon and Keep A child alive(www.keepachildalive.org), based in New York. I volunteered in supporting SHAPING DESTINY create a fundraising event this past summer '09 in houston TX.

Five-Year Aspirational Plan: By God's special grace, in five years i see myself being a Certified Public Accountant and an established actress.I equally intend to create a foundation for helping children facing health and educational difficulties in Cameroon.

Country you are representing: CAMEROON

Platform: I want to raise awareness by focusing on providing help for disadvantaged children in Africa

UGPulse asked: Traffic road accidents in Africa kill more Africans than some of the diseases that get more attention in the media. Sometimes vehicles strike pedestrians and leave them for dead. Given that most African countries lack resources, what are some of the things Africans and their governments can do to curb road carnage?

Okawa Shaznay: There is no doubt that road accidents are on the rise in various parts of Africa today. Road safety is a global issue that impacts negatively on social, economic and political avenues. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, over 1.3 million people die through road accidents worldwide every year, the most frightening thing is that about 85% of this comes from Africa, and I believe it is important for us Africans and our government to work together in finding ways on reducing road accidents in Africa.


Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon
Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon.

Firstly, our various African governments should legally enforce the use of driving schools and to strictly authorize and supervise driving tests for individuals before issuing driving licenses. This will help in the removal of unqualified drivers and careless conductors from public service vehicle operations; all of whom are some of the main causes of road accidents in Africa. Also most African countries do not have traffic lights. I lived in Africa for a little over 17 years of my life and I can attest to this because I did not see any traffic lights in the town I grew up in. Traffic lights are a great aid in road safety and they give a lot of ease with transportation by avoiding the severe road carnage we can get in Africa.

Secondly, the government and individuals need to see how vital it is to use seat belts while driving. Back home, people rarely wear seat belts. In fact it is even sad to say that it almost looks normal not to wear one. Seat belts provide maximum safety if you meet with an accident. They will prevent one from getting jerked to the sides or front if an accident occurs. They equally can protect a person's vital organs like the head (brain) and chest (heart) from getting injured. Most importantly our African governments should enforce the wearing of seat belts as a law and should heavily charge fines to defaulters.

More so, the government should work hand in hand with organized traffic agencies in mapping out risky roads. This form of mapping out relative risks one could meet in roads would actually assist traffic agencies and organizations know and learn about which processes and methods would be best to alleviate the high number of crashes and collisions. The government can help out with providing road signs to give drivers precautions on what to expect ahead of them such as speed bumps, bridges, pot holes and things of that nature. This goes a long way to keep drivers alert in order to avoid anything that can lead to a road accident.

Another area of concern is trucks and 18-wheeler accidents related to driver fatigue. I would like to suggest that our African governments and commercial transport agencies should implement if they have not done so or see to it that they conduct Sleep Apnea Screening in truck and bus drivers before they set out to drive; most of these drivers carry dangerous products such as timber and petroleum. The sleep apnea condition is believed to be a contributing factor to these accidents.

Driving distractions is a serious situation individuals have to avoid; it is more on the part of us as individuals to take care of this rather than it is for the government to look at. When I talk about driving distractions I mean either drinking under the influence of alcohol or cell phone use while driving. To use a cell phone while driving puts the driver multiple times more at risk of an accident, meaning that one is a whole lot more likely to injure or kill themselves or another person. Recent research has revealed that using a cell phone while driving is even more dangerous than drunk driving. Studies also show that responses are 50% slower than normal when using a cell phone, and 30% worse than under the influence of alcohol. The reason behind this is the distraction whereby using a cell phone creates visual, auditory, physical and mental distractions. This causes a series of possible consequences such as a driver being less likely to notice speed bumps or pot holes, or being more likely to drive too close to others, and finding it difficult to maintain a regular speed and as such displaying erratic driving. Using a cell phone while driving can mean many things; it is not just restricted to calls; cell phone usage also includes reading or responding to texts. To stay safe, the best action is to switch off the phone while driving and the government should equally deem it a duty to take action by setting laws on never to use cell phones while driving.

The above are various ways through which I would suggest will help in reducing road accidents in Africa. I may not have touched on all areas that would help avoid road carnage in Africa but the important thing here is that the little effort we as Africans can put and that of our government (by enforcing laws), will help our precious continent a great deal to have better safety on our roads.

Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon
Contestant Okawa Shaznay from Cameroon.

By Miss Africa USA 2010
more from author >>
First published: January 18, 2010
www.missafricaunitedstates.com