Road Traffic Accidents Increase in Ethiopia

8012f255a337782bffaadea968723f36_MW/ro Sara H/Meskel, a resident of Addis Ababa, whose mother lost her arm in an accident, claims the menace of road accidents is rising in its magnitude every day.

Public transportation vehicle drivers who prefer to drive through the night instead of the daytime and drivers who enjoy chewing Khat while driving are usually the ones who cause the said accidents.

According to the WHO data published in April 2011, deaths resulting from road traffic accidents in Ethiopia reached 22,786 or 2.77% of the total deaths in the nation. The age adjusted death rate of Ethiopia is 37.83 per 100,000, #12 in the world.

Road traffic accidents are becoming a major public safety and development obstacle. Pundits say the current situation necessitates high level of political dedication and immediate action.

Various studies have indicated that Ethiopia has one of the highest fatality rates per vehicle in the world. It is in excess of 100 fatalities per 10 000 vehicles. This should be compared with Kenya and United Kingdom, where the figure is about 19 and 2 per 10 000 vehicles, respectively.

Ethiopia loses about $65 million annually due to traffic accidents. In addition the victims are mainly public transport travelers in the working age group (18–30 years).

There are various causes of road accidents in Ethiopia. But the two main contributors are the inexperience of many drivers, adding on the ineffective policies and generally awkward road and vehicle conditions. Several Ethiopians have called on the Ethiopian Road and Traffic Authority to prohibit road side parking on undesignated areas, increase the number of suitable traffic and pedestrian signs, firm traffic law enforcement and speed control, train pedestrians on proper use of road and control the use of narcotics among drivers, among other things.