WINDHOEK, Feb. 20 – If you are out having a drinks with your friends and one of you is the designated driver, a stream of possibilities present themselves. From the risk of getting involved in an accident, commit culpable homicide, injure a person, go to jail, or pay a fine, these inconveniences are ones that you would rather avoid. LEFA is an application that can save your life, and eliminates the possibility of you making a decision that can break it.
LEFA (translated from Oshiwambo “lift”) is the brainchild of Engineer Melkisedek “Melkies” Shivute Ausiku, who felt that drunk driving has cost too many lives to keep ignoring.
“Road fatalities are a national concern, and drunk driving is usually the cause. Fatalities impact the families of those who lose lives and the app was inspired by a passion to solve this problem. My wish is that patriots make use of such services in order to get home safely,” said Melkies as he is popularly known.
The application targets drivers who are drunk and unable to carry out their driving in a responsible manner, and to avoid reckless behaviour on the road. The solution is to download an application that pin points your exact location and dispatches a driver to come and pick you up, and then take you to your preferred destination.
Said Melkies, “The main objective is to combat the dreadful road fatality statistics by booking a ride to go home, and also to eliminate that excuse that ‘I had no other option but to drive myself home.'”
Currently, LEFA has 11 drivers signed up and according to Melkies, there is a need to rope in company and shuttle drivers to create opportunity for growth and employment.
The application was launched today, heralding a partnership with Namibia Breweries Limited, and Managing Director Wessie van der Westhuizen has called it an exciting and innovative conception.
“This is a step in the right direction toward minimising and even curbing death tolls. It is the most exciting and innovative application and technology in Namibia. It is important to note that this is all done to address the national catastrophe,” said van der Westhuizen.
In addition, he added that this initiative could not only be used for eliminating drunk driving, but also for people who intend to carpool to and from work, and other similar situation that did not require a convoy of cars with few people commuting to the same destination.
“Our roads are recognised as one of the best, but we are seemingly fail to use them safely. There is congestion on infrastructure, high carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, pollution, you name it. This application can guarantee fewer cars, but cars that carry more people, and this will tackle some of the inefficiencies in the traffic aspect. It is a smart initiative,” he added.
There is an aspiration that the LEFA will grow and make a positive difference in Windhoek and the country.
At the moment, aspiring drivers have to be registered with the Namibia Tourism Board, and they have already begun ferrying customers around the capital, although their services have been restricted to 03H00 on a daily basis.
The fleet consists of shuttles for transporting a large group of people for an approximate cost of $120, if they are going to a similar destination, while there is a smaller vehicle that charges $40, and while current payments are made in cash, or utilising wallet services, card-less services will be introduced soon. – Musa Zimunya