Traffic Accident Marred City to Distribute Breathalysers, Mouthpieces

They have cost the city 3.3 million Br and are imported from China

Addis Abeba’s Road Traffic Management Agency has procured half a million mouthpieces and 5,000 blow-tuber breathalysers at a total cost of 3.3 million Br.

Imported from overseas, they will be distributed in June and July to traffic police officers in all 10 sub-cities of the city. Kasper Trading Plc supplied the items after winning the bid floated by the Agency five months ago.

“Law enforcement has appeared lax amongst our traffic polices and must be at the heart of our strategy to decrease the number of traffic accidents by 50pc,” Genetu Desallegn, director of the agency told Fortune. “There was a scarcity of the equipment so far, and this will not be a reason for accidents related to drunken driving after now.”

The legal alcohol limit for drivers is 80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood. The full kit of the new breathalysers contains 6V charger that can be connected to a vehicle, regular power supply, printer, mouthpiece, blow-tube and the breathalyser itself.

In the past nine months 10,339 drivers were stopped at sobriety checkpoints for tests. Over 550 of them had had some alcohol content in their blood, of which 202 drivers tested above the legal limit of alcohol, according to the Agency.

In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies, through its Road Safety Initiative, donated 30,000 disposable mouthpieces and 45 AlcoBlows, portable breath testing instruments. The City Council has also given 20 breathalysers to the Traffic Agency.

The Bloomberg Initiative is also working with law enforcement bodies on a five-year Addis Abeba Road Safety Strategy Plan that was launched in 2015.

After a survey that was carried out last year, the Agency identified 10 areas around the city where, on the average, three road traffic accidents occur each day. Other 42 areas were also highlighted as prone to high levels of traffic accidents.

“The breathalysers are, if not the quickest, the best means of addressing this challenge,” Genetu told Fortune.

Addis Abeba was among the 10 cities that participated in the Bloomberg Initiative for Global Road Safety in 2015. The initiative was launched with the aim of increasing media campaigns in cities with high rates of traffic accidents and to reduce the associated fatalities and injuries.

Over the past nine months alone, Addis Abeba has witnessed 325 fatalities, 1,441 heavy and 673 minor physical injuries due to traffic accidents. On the national level, 266 million Br worth of property was damaged while 2,315 people lost their lives in the first half of this fiscal year, according to the Federal Police Commission.

The Agency has likewise begun installing traffic slowing devices such as speed humps at the cost of 62 million Br with a focus on the 10 most accident-prone streets in the capital.

However, Berhanu Zeleke (PhD), who has worked at the Urban Development Studies Department of Urban Transport Management for over two decades, believes that these testing methods could not be the only solutions for the recurring and ever-growing fatalities and deaths due to traffic accidents.

“It is important to have better policies that can reframe drivers’ behaviour and cities’ road structure,” he comments.


Published on May 19,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 942]



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