SSATP Working Paper No. 33

Upon the request of the World Bank, the Institute of Transport Economics, Norway did an appraisal of the road safety situation and road safety work in five African countries: Benin, Cote d'Ivoire, Kenya, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The overall objective of the evaluation was to identify key measures that would reduce fatalities, personal injuries, and material damage from road accidents in Africa. The information was collected through visits to the five countries. A report on the road safety situation of each country was then sent to the authorities responsible for road safety in each country, and their comments have been incorporated into the final report. A preliminary version of this report was presented at the Third African Road Safety Congress, April 1997. The report's findings include the following: Safety Congress. All five countries have accident data systems. Three countries admit that an unknown share of accidents are not recorded. The definition of a fatality varies from dead on- the-road to dead up to 30 days after the accident. Between 1968 and 1990 road fatalities in Africa increased by 350 percent. Without some action this increase will probably continue as the number of motor vehicles increases. The number of people killed and injured in road accidents relative to the population in most African countries has not yet reached the same level as Europe and North America; but, the rate of those killed and injured relative to the number of motor vehicles is extremely high in most African countries. During the last five years, the number of motor vehicles in the five countries has increased from 21 to 63 percent, road accidents from 15 to 70 percent, fatalities from 28 to 57 percent, and injuries from 27 to 89 percent. Pedestrians and public transport passengers are the largest groups among the fatalities, about 30-40 percent each. All five countries have national road safety councils, founded between 1972 and 1995. The objectives of the well. Foreign assistance is common. Road infrastructure is given first priority, and safety problems seem to be relegated to a second level. The road engineering measures, such as roundabouts or speed humps, generally known to reduce accidents, will likely have the same effect in developing countries as in highly motorized countries. Most countries face problems in financing road maintenance, and road safety may be compromised. Road signs are stolen or damaged, and replacement is costly and rarely carried out. Donors seem to have taken more interest in road maintenance lately, improving the chances for making road safety measures a part of road maintenance. The priority given to road safety aspects in road planning and maintenance reflects, to some degree, the priority of the donors rather than that of the recipient countries. Although there is some road safety publicity in all five countries, most countries lack adequate budgets for publicity. The road safety information campaigns are not evaluated, and their effect on road accidents is unknown. Two countries have compulsory driver training in private driving schools, and three countries have no compulsory driver training. All five countries face corruption in driver testing and license issuing, allowing unskilled drivers on the roads, and some countries have problems with forged licenses. The activities which seem to be functioning best are the accident recording systems, road engineering, and legislation. Legislation and engineering are important measures, and further extension and improvement of these measures still have a potential for reducing accidents. Organizational changes, funding, legislation amendments and enforcement are the most difficult activities to implement.

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Date of Publication (Year): 
Jan 1998
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