Characterization of Road Traffic Accidents on the Road between Harar and Dire Dawa, Eastern Ethiopia: A cross-sectional study
Background: A Road Traffic Accident (RTA) is a rampant public health and development challenge in Ethiopia. However, there are very few studies on the different characteristics of road traffic accidents that have occurred. This study was aimed at characterizing the RTA between Harar and Dire Dawa, Eastern Ethiopia from January-April, 2016.
Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional study on the RTA which occurred from January-April, 2016 on the way from Harar to Dire Dawa. We collected the data from the traffic police accident investigating team, drivers who survived the accident, eyewitnesses, and medico-legal reports of the accidents. We present a descriptive analysis to characterize the road traffic accidents that occurred on the road in the specified period.
Results: From January to April, 2016, 166 RTAs occurred on the road between Harar and Dire Dawa. From these, 69 (41.6%) resulted in severe accidents, 56 (33.7%) in property damage only, and 41 (24.7%) in property damage and minor injury to human beings. Many of the accidents occurred on an undivided two-way road (107(64.5%)), some on a divided two-way road (38(22.9%)), and very few on one-way road (21(12.7%)). Most of the accidents (139(83.7%)) were collisions, involving two or more vehicles. Eighty-three (50%) of the drivers reported they had never used a seatbelt whereas 38.6% and 11.4% of them reported that they had used the belt always and only sometimes, respectively. Most of the accidents occurred in clear weather conditions (134(80.7%)), on non-congested roads (110(66.3%)), and in commercial vehicles (40.4%).
Conclusions: The road traffic accidents between Harar and Dire Dawa damaged property and human life. Most of the accidents were caused by commercial vehicles. The causes of the accidents were easily preventable. Interventions that focus on driver’s risky behavior, speed, and road safety improvement are essential to solve many of the problems.
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