Following the nation-wide road safety awareness campaign launched by the Ministry of Transport (MoT) number of deaths caused by road accident in Ethiopia is reported to have dropped by 10.09 percent, although the overall problem is still at a crisis level, The Reporter learnt.
In the 2019-2020 budget year 4,133 people died of road transport accident. This has shown a slight improvement compared to the previous year. More than 12,000 people sustained heavy and light physical injuries.
The Ministry of Transport organised a consultative meeting with journalists on the role of the media in combating road accident on Wednesday at Eliana Hotel.
Yohannes Lemma, director road safety education and awareness, disclosed that the media plays a crucial role in creating awareness among the public on road safety issues. Though there are some improvements in the past few years still the road accident is taking a heavy toll of lives. More than 34 deaths are reported per 10,000 vehicles, which puts Ethiopia among countries with worst accident rate. Every day 11 people die in motor accidents in the country.
Yohannes said that the road accident problem has reached a crisis level. "Every family is being affected. It is creating a social, psychological and economic problems," he said.
With only 1.2 million vehicles Ethiopia is registering one of the worst accident rate in the world. More than 68 percent of the accident is caused by driver error.
The Ministry of Transport has launched a national road safety campaign aimed reducing the number of road accidents.
Yohannes said the Ministry of Transport is working closely in developing an educational curriculum on road safety. He called on media professionals to continue advocating for road safety. Journalists who participated in the work shop stated that the Ministry of Transport, Road Fund and other stakeholders should collaborate with the media in creating awareness among the public. The journalists emphasised the need to provide relevant and timely information to the media houses. "The communication departments are supposed to avail information to the media houses and they should collaborate with the media professionals in creating awareness on the burning issue," they said. The journalists blamed some government offices for not actively engaging with the media on social campaigns.
State Minister of Transport Mulu Gebeigzabher said that the ministry is now committed to reduce road traffic accidents more than ever. "We have launched a strong public awareness campaign. No one should die on the road. Staring from the minister we all are dedicated to work hard on raising awareness and ensuring road safety," Mulu said.
She said her ministry has been working with the Ministry of Education on road safety education. According to her, road safety will be incorporated in the country's education curriculum as of 2021.
The ministry this week donated speed control radars to the regional states.