As the scourge of traffic accident keeps growing from year to year and becoming a leading cause of death in the nation like malaria, the government announced that it was adopting a new strategy which would be implemented nationwide to reduce fatality caused by traffic accidents.
Speaking before the House of People’s Representatives (HPR) on Thursday, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn said traffic accidents in the country had already surpassed malaria as being the leading killer.
He also explained that while the number of vehicles imported into the country was growing fast, traffic accidents continued taking the lives of 4,000 to 5,000 citizens annually.
According to the PM, last year alone some 110,000 vehicles were imported into the country, and noted “the import of vehicle that we have seen during the previous year is extremely high as compared to the total number of vehicles rolling into the country since the first time Ethiopia had imported vehicles a century ago”.
Weighing the ever growing trend of traffic accident which is becoming fast to be the leading cause of deaths, “it is needed to multiply and expand our campaigning efforts equally like what have been doing while campaigning against HIV/AIDS,” the PM told parliament.
Though vehicles bore the major responsibility for the death toll, Hailemariam indicated that no matter how smaller their share, smaller modes of transportation such as horse-drawn carriages and bicycles were also to blame, especially in rural towns. He also said the nation was still desperately in need of addressing such challenges, and was adopting grass-root education at the elementary-school level, like what was common in many other countries.
Hailemariam also cited some of the factors contributing to the ever-growing fatal traffic accidents, which include deficient driver’s-license-issuing system, corruption, low quality vehicles, attitude problems both among drivers and society. On the long-standing problem of driver’s license issuance, he added that bribery was common among issuing officers, and members of the public also encouraged such corrupt practices by seeking to obtain licenses without acquiring the minimum qualification.
Under the supervision of the Minister of Transport, Ahmed Shidie, the Federal Transport Authority (FTA) has recently announced a new and comprehensive strategy to launch a nation-wide campaign and action plan to minimize traffic accidents and subsequent deaths of citizens as well as damage to property.