Road safety in Ethiopia remains a significant concern. With the highest per capita rate of road fatalities in the African region, road deaths and injuries have doubled from some 2,161 to 4,597 in the last decade. There is thus an urgent need to recognize the worsening situation in road deaths and injuries and to take appropriate action. In order to improve road safety performance in the country, many barriers need to be overcome. Among them are strong road safety policies and comprehensive laws that are periodically reviewed and updated, coupled with effective enforcement, and public awareness, which is critical to protecting road users from road traffic crashes.
With regards to institutional arrangements and mechanisms, the Ethiopian government has established an organizational framework of the National Road Safety Coordination Office (NRSC), housed in the Ministry of Transport (MoT), with the aim of preventing road traffic crashes. Additionally, the MoT is responsible for providing a legal framework for safe and secure transport services and improving road safety issues in the country. However, there are serious policy and road safety legislative gaps in its coverage and partial/weak implementation combined with poor public awareness. For example, the current speed limit is 50 years old, which lacks the inclusion of upper limits, a systemic approach, desirable enforcement provisions, and appropriate penalties.
Increasing efforts to strengthen national road safety laws to reduce the number of deaths and injuries caused by traffic crashes in 15 countries that account for roughly 60% of all road traffic deaths globally is one of the priorities of the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS). Through the Advocacy and Grants programme, the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP) and Vital Strategies (VS) follow international best practices to contribute to beneficiary countries in the process of developing advocacy strategies for legislative change.
As a GRSP grantee, Save the Nation project will contribute to the reduction of deaths and injuries on the roads by building non-governmental stakeholder support, specifically from commercial transport sector, to support the Ministry of Transport advocacy efforts in the passage of speed management regulations
In addition to the above institutions, other partners and local stakeholders will be involved in the implementation of the project, including the Federal Transport Authority (FTA), the Ministry of Health (MoH), the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA), the Federal Police Commission (FPC), and urban and regional roads and transport institutions. The project will then be submitted to the House of Peoples’ Representatives for approval by all stakeholders at all levels, after providing the necessary technical input on the new Road Traffic Law.
The overall objective of this project is to significantly contribute to the policy advocacy effort for comprehensive legislative change to proclamation no. 208/2011, regulation no. 395/2017, and legal notice no. 361/1969 to meet best practices across all risk factors, and raise awareness among the decision-makers and, the public to achieve sustained reductions in traffic-related fatalities and an overall improvement in public health and economic development. Hence, SNA, through this 18-month project, supports the MoT in strengthening these regulations by engaging stakeholders to ensure local ownership and, ultimately, the sustainability of interventions and outcomes of the proposed amendments. More specifically, the project area is sensitization, policy advocacy campaigns, and building commercial transport stakeholders in support of the MoT legislation revision and amendment of the National Motor Vehicles’ speed limit, helmet seat belt, and child restraint Regulations, and mobilizing other key road safety stakeholders’ organizations, including NGOs/CSOs. Save the Nation (SNA) is thankful for the awarded grant and technical support from the GRSP to enhance safety and save lives on the roads across Ethiopia.