Characteristics of Police-reported road traffic crashes in Ethiopia over a six year period
Ethiopia has one of Africa’s fastest growing non-oil producing economies and an increasing level of motorisation (AfDB, OECD, UNDP, & UNECA, 2012). This rapidly increasing mobility has created some unique road safety concerns; however there is scant published information and related commentary (United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, 2009). The objective of this paper is to quantify police-reported traffic crashes in Ethiopia and characterise the existing state of road safety. Six years (July 2005 - June 2011) of police-reported crash data were analysed, consisting of 12,140 fatal and 29,454 injury crashes on the country’s road network. The 12,140 fatal crashes involved 1,070 drivers, 5,702 passengers, and 7,770 pedestrians, totalling 14,542 fatalities, an average of 1.2 road user fatalities per crash. An important and glaring trend that emerges is that more than half of the fatalities in Ethiopia involve pedestrians. The majority of the crashes occur during daytime hours, involve males, and involve persons in the 18-50 age group—Ethiopia’s active workforce. Crashes frequently occur in mid blocks or roadways. The predominant collision between motor vehicles and pedestrians was a rollover on a road tangent section. Failing to observe the priority of pedestrians and speeding were the major causes of crashes attributed by police. Trucks and minibus taxis were involved in the majority of crashes, while automobiles (small vehicles) were less involved in crashes relative to other vehicle types, partially because small vehicles tend to be driven fewer kilometres per annum. These data illustrate and justify a high priority to identify and implement effective programs, policies, and countermeasures focused on reducing pedestrian crashes.