Road traffic accidents and human security in Addis Ababa

Master's Thesis, 2014

77 Pages, Grade: Masters Level


Table of Contents


List of Charts, Figures and Tables

Abbreviations and Acronyms


Chapter One
1. General Framework of the Research
I. Introduction
1.1 Statement of the Problem
1.2 Objective of the Study
1.2.1 General Objective
1.2.2 Specific Objectives
1.3 Research Questions
1.4 Significance of the Study
1.5 Delimitation of the Study
1.6 Limitations of the Study
1.7 Description of the Study Area
1.8 Methodology and Methods of the Research
1.8.1 Sampling Techniques
1.8.2 Data Collection Techniques
1.8.3 Data Analysis
1.9 Ethical Considerations
1.10 Organization of the Study

Chapter Two
2. Road Traffic Accidents and Human Security: Literature and Conceptual Frameworks
2.1 Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) Defined
2.2 Causes of Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs)
2.3 Road Traffic Accidents: Cost Components
2.4 Human Security: A Paradigm Shift
2.4.1 Threats of Human Security
2.4.1 Direct versus Indirect Threats and Idiosyncratic versus Covariant Threats
2.4.2 List of Human Security Threats

Chapter Three
3. Road Traffic Accidents and Human Security in Addis Ababa
3.1 Causes of RTAs in Addis Ababa
3.1.1 Road User’s Error (Human Factors)
3.1.2. Vehicles Defects
3.1.3. Road Conditions
3.2 The Effects of RTAs on Human Security
3.2.1 Economic Consequences
3.2.2 Social Consequences
3.2.3 Health Security

Chapter Four
4. Road Traffic Accidents as Human Security Threat and Measures Being Taken
4.1 Assessment of Measures Undertaken to Reduce and/or Prevent the Effects of RTAs in Addis Ababa
4.1.1 Education (Creating Awareness)
4.4.2. Enforcement of Traffic Regulation
4.4.3. Engineering Measures
4.2 Road Traffic Accidents as Human Security Threat

Chapter Five
5. Summary, Conclusion and Recommendations
5.2 Recommendations


Appendix 1: List of Informants

Appendix 2: Questionnaire for Pedestrians

Appendix 3: List of Guiding Interview Questions

List of Charts, Figures and Tables

I. List of Charts

Chart 1: Drivers error as cause of RTAs in Kerkos sub city.

Chart 2: Casualties of RTAs in Addis Ababa

Chart 3: Distribution of RTAs by type of roads in Kerkos sub city.

II. List of Figures

Figure 1: Interactions within the elementary human-vehicle-environment system

Figure 2: Classification of accident cost components

Figure 3: Map of Addis Ababa.

Figure 4: Unsafe acts in the system process.

Figure 5: RTAs (health problem) and human security link

III. List of Tables

Table 1: Some proposed elements of human security

Table 2: Total number of RTAs in Addis Ababa (2008/09-2010/11)

Table 3: Total property damage in monetary terms (2008/09-2010/11)

Table 4: Total number of casualties (2008/09-2010/11)

Table 5: Top 10 leading causes of death, 2004 and 2030 compared

Abbreviations and Acronyms

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten


In this study the causes, effects, and measures being undertaken by authorities, such as Addis Ababa Police Commission, Road Authority, Health Bureau and others, with regard to Road Traffic Accidents and its overall linkage with human security in Addis Ababa are examined using mixed methodological approach, i.e., qualitative and quantitative. The findings revealed that, combination of factors contributed for the incidence of RTAs in Addis Ababa; human errors, vehicles defect, poor road design and poor traffic regulation enforcement. The study found the multifaceted effects of RTAs on the economy of households and the state, on the social interaction of victims and family, on the physical safety or the survival of individuals including permanent and temporal health problems. Countermeasures are being carried out authorities starting from creating awareness through education campaigns, improving road designs and enforcement of the traffic regulation of the city, though the rate of RTAs are still raising and occurring frequently. The research concludes that, RTAs have multifaceted effects on human security in Kerkos sub city and /or Addis Ababa and little attention is given to the problem, despite the increase of road crashes from time to time.

Chapter One

1. General Framework of the Research

I. Introduction

People for centuries and millennia have been moving from place to place to pursue their day-to-day activities. To facilitate their movement, people use different ways of transportations including road, air, water, train etc. It is an accepted fact that of all modes of transportation, road transport is the nearest to people. According to WHO (2009) and Wade et al (2011), road transportation provides benefits both to nations and to individuals by facilitating the movement of goods and people. It enables increased access to jobs, markets, education, recreation and health care. ECA (1989) and Atnafseged (1996) noted that, road transportations have major advantages compared with others is its flexibility, which allows to operate from door-to-door over short distances at the most competitive prices. In Africa, over 80% of goods and peoples are transported by roads and in Ethiopia road transport accounts for over 90% of freight and passenger movements in the country.

Therefore, road transportation has a direct connection with the day-to-day activities of people, especially in large cities where the distance to be travelled is too far to cover on foot or by bicycle within a reasonable time. According to WHO (2009), however, the increase in road transportation has placed a considerable burden on the people’s lives. The pandemic of road traffic deaths and injuries is the major one. According to Ethiopian Federal Police (2008/09-2010/11) report, each year more than two thousand people die and ten thousand people injured in road traffic crashes. WHO (2009) asserted that road traffic crashes are the leading cause of death and disablement second only to HIV/AIDS for people under 44 years. The continuing advance of motorization in many developing countries is likely to further exacerbate the problem.

Owing to road transportation accidents the lives of peoples’ in developing and developed cities is subject to these negative outcomes. As a result, the individuals’ human security is highly threatened by RTAs that deprives their lives, health, property, etc. The problem of death and injury of road accidents is now acknowledged to be a global phenomenon with authorities in virtually all countries of the world; worried about the growth in the number of people killed and seriously injured on their roads. In the 2009 report of the WHO Lee Jong Wook, Director General of World Health Organization described the situation of road traffic crashes as follows:

Every day thousands of people are killed and injured on our roads. Men, women or children walking, biking or riding to school or work, playing in the streets or setting out on long trips, will never return home, leaving behind shattered families and communities. Millions of people each year will spend long weeks in hospital after severe crashes and many will never be able to live, work or play as they used to do. Current efforts to address road safety are minimal in comparison to this growing human suffering.

The immense upshot and frequent occurrences of RTAs in Addis Ababa are the central factors that motivated the researcher. Hence, the study focuses on investigating the main effects of RTAs on human security, causes and countermeasures to reduce/prevent RTAs in Addis Ababa.

1.1 Statement of the Problem

Despite the growth of RTAs, researchers have not yet seriously examined the linkages among RTAs and human security. According to WHO (2010), road traffic injuries have become the leading cause of death for people aged 15–29 years. Over 90% of road traffic deaths and injuries occur in low-income and middle-income countries, which have only 48% of the world’s registered vehicles. Nearly half (46%) of those dying on the world’s roads are “vulnerable road users”: pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists. In addition to the grief and suffering they cause, road traffic crashes result in considerable economic losses to victims, their families, and nations as a whole, costing most countries 1–3% of their gross national product; without action, road traffic crashes are predicted to result in the deaths of around 1.9 million people annually by 2020.

According to UNDP (1994), traffic accidents present great risks on personal security. In industrial countries, traffic accidents are the leading cause of death for people aged 15-30. And in developing countries, traffic accidents account for at least 50% of total accidental deaths. For example, the highway death toll in South Africa in 1993 was 10,000, which was three times the number of deaths from political violence. WHO (2004) argues that, road traffic injuries are a major but neglected public health challenge that requires concerted efforts for effective and sustainable prevention. Of all the systems with which people have to deal every day, road traffic systems are the most complex and the most dangerous.

In Ethiopia, the rate of road traffic accidents (RTAs) is very high; because of road transport is the major transportation mechanism along with poor road infrastructure, poor enforcement of traffic laws and other factors. The Ethiopian traffic control system archives data on various aspects of the traffic system, such as traffic volume, concentration, and vehicle accidents; with more vehicles and traffic, the capital, Addis Ababa, takes the lion’s share of the risk, with an average of more than 20 accidents being recorded every day and even more going unreported (WHO, 2009). The costs of fatalities and injuries due to RTAs have a tremendous impact on societal well-being and socio-economic development endeavours. However, public policy responses to this epidemic have been muted at national and international levels (Nantulya and Reich, 2002). Hence, the issue of RTAs in Addis Ababa is worthy of investigation. The causes, effects and measures in reducing or preventing vehicle crashes in Addis Ababa context need to be analyzed to point out what should be done in a manner that contributes to the reduction of RTAs. Generally, the central argument of the study is to assess how much vehicle crashes affects the life and livelihood of peoples and the country’s aspiration to development.  The researcher is motivated to carry out this academic thesis stemmed from the raise of RTAs on the highways of Addis Ababa and its effect on the lives and livelihood of individuals.

1.2 Objective of the Study

1.2.1 General Objective

The study aims to assess the effects of road traffic accidents on human security in the case of Addis Ababa.

1.2.2 Specific Objectives

1. To find out the major causes of RTAs in Addis Ababa
2. To analyze the consequences of RTAs on the social and economic activities of individuals and the state
3. To assess measures taken to reduce and/or prevent the effects of RTAs on human security
4. To examine the people’s perception and the links among RTAs and human security

1.3 Research Questions

The study focuses on the following research questions to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

1. What major factors cause RTAs in Addis Ababa?
2. What effects do RTAs have on human security in Addis Ababa?
3. What kinds of measures are being taken to reduce and/or prevent the effects of RTAs on human security in Addis Ababa?
4. What are the links and peoples’ perception towards RTAs and human security in Addis Ababa?

1.4 Significance of the Study

The research could have the advantage of pointing out the causes and effects of RTAs. More specifically, this research has the following major significance.

1. Assist concerned bodies in identifying the major causes of RTAs in Addis Ababa
2. It helps concerned governmental institutions to associate the effects of RTAs and locate areas of intervention.
3. It could also serve as springboard for further studies in the area and put the issue into the ongoing dialogue in the literature

1.5 Delimitation of the Study

The study is delimited to assess the repercussion of RTAs on the human security, causes of RTAs and measures to reduce and/or prevent RTAs in Addis Ababa. The inquiry incorporated nationwide data; such as claims paid to motor insurance and RTA data for comparison, and RTA data of Addis Ababa and Kerkos sub city. When it deemed essential, the use of level of analysis goes from Addis Ababa to Kerkos sub city and includes global facts.

1.6 Limitations of the Study

Some possible informants especially those injured by RTAs and such organizations like the Ethiopian Insurance Company were not willing to share their views and provide data to the researchers. Due to poor handling and recording of RTAs in Addis Ababa City Police Commission (hereinafter AACPC), the researcher is forced to use the 2010/11 vehicle accident data of Kerkos sub city.

1.7 Description of the Study Area

Addis Ababa, the capital city of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, is located in the centre of the country. It is also home to the African Union, the Economic Commission for Africa and other international organizations. According to CSA (2010), Addis Ababa has a total of 54,000 hectares and 2,739,551 million populations, 3.4% of the population of Ethiopia.  It also represents about 26% of the urban population of Ethiopia. Addis Ababa has an aggregate population density of 4,847.8 persons per square kilometre.

For administration purposes, Addis Ababa is divided into 10 sub cities viz., Akaki Kaliti, Nefas Silk, Kolfe Keraniyo, Gulele, Ledeta, Kerkos, Arada, Addis Ketema, Bole and Lideta. Over the past years the city of Addis Ababa has witnessed with an amazing expansion in size. The rapid increase in urban population with an annual growth rate of 3.8 percent per year has not been provided with an equal growth in provisions of road infrastructures, urban transportation, and other infrastructures (ibid).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 1: Map of Addis Ababa (source: Google Map)

The total length of road in the city is 1, 329.59 km, out of which 29.7% or 395.27 km is asphalt road; the remaining 70.03% or 934.34 km is non-asphalt. Addis Ababa has a large concentration of motorized vehicles. About 80% of the total vehicles in the country operate in the city. In 2011, registered vehicles in the capital city have reached 202,123. It has 27.72% growth when compared with 2006 data that was 158,252 (AATA, 2011). However, the capacity, of the road network of Addis Ababa, is low, on-street parking is prevalent, and the pavement condition is deteriorating. Despite a large volume of pedestrians, there are no walkways over a large length (63%) of the roadway network. This is a major concern because it contributes to the increased pedestrian involvement in traffic accidents (Ethiopia Transport Authority, 2005).

The chaotic mix of bad roads, improper vehicle handling, unenforced pedestrian right of way rules, and absence of pedestrian sidewalks has meant that fatal crashes are very common. AACPC (2008/09-2010/11) report shows that, out of 22942 accidents occurred in these years; 1021 is deaths, 2261 is severe injuries, 2069 is light injuries, and 17598 is property damages estimated 106,192,124.00 ETB in Addis Ababa. The threats of RTAs are major areas of human security concern for the city dwellers with scant research being undertaken to date.

1.8 Methodology and Methods of the Research

The study employed a mixed approach (qualitative and quantitative). Nowadays, a number of researchers applied mixed approach to reduce the weakness of qualitative and quantitative approaches. For instance, the weakness of qualitative design includes knowledge produced may not be generalized to other people or other settings (i.e., findings may be unique to the relatively few people included in the research study); the results are more easily influenced by the researcher’s personal biases and idiosyncrasies, etc. Quantitative design weakness also includes knowledge produced may be too abstract and general for direct application to specific local situations, contexts, and individuals (Kothari, 2004).

The evolution of mixed approach is associated with the field of social psychology. It intends to converge, i.e. to triangulate the different qualitative and quantitative data sources (Creswell, 2003). Among the mixed approach strategies, transformative strategy is employed in this inquiry. According to Creswell (2003), transformative strategy may or may not be sequential during data collection. Priority can be given to either of the designs (qualitative or quantitative). The strategy has a theoretical perspective to guide the study. Accordingly, the researcher has given weight to qualitative design for the sake of closely looking participant’s social situation, the way they make sense of their lives or experiences, and perception and/or attitude.

With all its weakness, this strategy is chosen owing to the fact that it gives the researcher discretion to decide on the issue of priority and enables to use theoretical frameworks that a researcher to rely on. Needless to say, the problem at hand benefits from the advantages of mixed approach. Hence, the approach is worthy of being adopted for this study. Because, the research is grounded on qualitative data gathered through interview, questionnaire and other sources coupled with the quantitative statistical reports of Addis Ababa Police Commission, Ethiopian Insurance Corporation, Lion Insurance Company and other sources.

1.8.1 Sampling Techniques

The study area was a sub-city in Addis Ababa where frequent traffic accident occurs. It was identified through the data collected from the Addis Ababa City Police Commission archive. To select informants’; quota, systematic and purposive sampling were employed. Quota and systematic sampling is used for the sake of obtaining diverse information from the target black spot areas. Because, the problem prevails in one place for example, Bambis may not be similar with Uraile. Purposive sampling also gives discretion to chose informants based on their familiarity to the issue.

Accordingly, five drivers and traffic policemen, two respondent from Federal Transport Authority and Addis Ababa Road Transport Authority and two respondents from Traffic Police Traffic Accident Control and Inspection Office, two respondents from Addis Ababa Health Bureau and Fire and Emergency Prevention and Rescue Agency for semi-structured were selected purposively. Four RTA victims were involved in the unstructured interview. Five black spot areas, namely Uraile, Bambis, Bete-megist, Kasanchis and Behirawi, were purposively selected each having ten quota distributions. Through applying systematic sampling, pedestrians (questionnaire respondent) were chosen from every fifth households on one street.

1.8.2 Data Collection Techniques

The required data were gathered from primary and secondary sources. Thus, the primary sources of data were collected through the following instruments.

A. Interview s

Semi-structured and unstructured interviews were conducted with informants. Informants from Addis Ababa Traffic Police Traffic Accidents Control and Inspection Office (AATPTACIO), Addis Ababa Road Transport Authority (AACRA), Addis Ababa City Health Bureau (AACHB), Fire and Emergency Rescue and Prevention Agency (FERPA), traffic polices of Kerkos sub city Police Department, drivers and RTA victims were involved in the interview. Thus, a total of eighteen individuals were interviewed.

B. Questionnaire

In addition to in-depth interviews, the researcher utilized open ended questionnaire for the sake of obtaining, giving the opportunity for respondents to vent and explain their thoughts towards the subject of inquiry. To check the validity of the questionnaire a pilot test was conducted. Finally, fifty questionnaires were distributed to respondents. To reduce non-response extra five questionnaires were distributed.

Secondary sources were collected from Addis Ababa City Police Commission (AACPC), Central Statistical Agency (CSA), Addis Ababa Health Bureau, and insurance companies (i.e. Ethiopia Insurance Corporations and Lion Insurance Company).[1] For the purpose of analyzing and buttressing what is gathered through primary sources and in an effort of making it reliable, reviews of relevant books, journals, articles, and reports (extracted from international organizations such as WHO, World Bank and others) were conducted. The secondary sources were then integrated with the primary sources so that the research will be comprehensive enough to capture elements of the phenomenon under study.

1.8.3 Data Analysis

The data gathered from different sources is analyzed using mixed approach. The data gathered through interview, questionnaire[2], recorded data from traffic authorities and other institutions are transcribed into themes and analyzed from the perspective of human security approach and literatures. Tables, charts and figures are used to clarify and substantiate explanations. The data gained from differing sources are juxtaposed or compared for the purpose of critical examination of the various claims.

1.9 Ethical Considerations

This study is conducted in a manner that is consistent with ethical issues that need to be considered in conducting a research. Accordingly, letter from the Institute for Peace and Security Studies was written for the concerned bodies. Hence, most individuals, the researcher visited for interview, accepted and cooperated with the researcher. A prior consent of the participants was requested before conducting the interview and administering questionnaire. Informants who did not want to be their names to appear in the research are named as anonymous informants.

1.10 Organization of the Study

The paper is organized into four chapters. The discussion of the problem, objectives and method of the study is followed by a sketch of literature and conceptual issues that inform the subsequent part of the study. The paper discusses the major factors of RTAs, the effects of RTAs on human security, assessment of measures being undertaken to reduce and/or prevent the occurrences of road crashes in the road of Addis Ababa, and examines individual’s perception towards RTA as a security threat along with the literature in the third chapter. Finally, the paper ends up with some concluding remarks and recommendations in chapter four.

Chapter Two

2. Road Traffic Accidents and Human Security: Literature and Conceptual Frameworks


Various scholars, international institutions and countries have attempted to come up with the definition of human security. However, the term continued to be ambiguous and difficult to define. Hence, ‘what kind of issues should be considered as human security threats?’ is not easy to address. This chapter explores conceptual frameworks and literature review on RTAs and human security. As a result, the definition, causes and costs of RTAs; the concept and threats of human security are discussed.

2.1 Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs) Defined

The WHO (1977) defines a transport accident as; “any accident involving a device designed primarily for, or being used at the time primarily for, conveying persons or goods from one place to another”. On the other hand, ABS (1990) classified road accidents on the basis of the following conditions. The accident resulted in: the death of a person within 30 days of the accident; or personal injury to the extent that the injured person was admitted to hospital; the accident occurred on any road, street, or any place open to public road; the accident involved one or more road vehicles which were in motion at the time of the accident.

IRTAD (1992) stated that, according to the Vienna Convention, the standard international definition of an injury road crash involves a collision of a moving vehicle on a public road in which a road user (human or animal), is injured. Besides, the widely accepted definition of RTAs is given by the Economic Commission for Europe (ECE); i.e., “road traffic accidents (RTAs) are those accidents that occur on a way or street open to public traffic; resulted in one or more persons being killed or injured, and at least one moving vehicle was involved.” Thus, RTA is collisions between vehicles; between vehicles and pedestrians; between vehicles and animals; or between vehicles and fixed obstacles. For the purpose of this thesis, the definition of the Economic Commission of Europe is adopted.

2.2 Causes of Road Traffic Accidents (RTAs)

The association between the factors that contribute to accidents and accident occurrence is irreducibly statistical. By studying accidents without having any idea of how frequently various hazards occur in traffic, no conclusions whatsoever can be drawn concerning the relative importance of factors contributing to accidents (Benedetto, 2008).

McMahon and Ward (2005) identified three major classes of causes of vehicle accidents; road user's error/human factors, vehicle defects and road condition or environment. Among the most prominent factors, is the human factor of which drivers' errors takes the majority of the blames. Drivers' errors that are hazardous include driving too fast, failing to give way, improper over taking and following too close. All of which could result from aggressive or irresponsible behaviour, deficient actions, perceptual errors or impairments. Nonetheless, Van Elslande et al (2008) argued that, in the field of road safety research, most accident analysts tend to conclude by considering 'human error' as the main cause of accidents. The problem behind such a statement is that, it leads to oversimplification of the problem.

On the other hand, Salmon et al (2005) stated that, there are two theoretical approaches to human error: the 'person approach' which focus upon the last step of system operation and by so treats human error as the cause of most of the accidents; and the 'safe system approach' which looks further in the accident process considering the role of the various organizational levels that contribute to the production of system outputs (rules, design, management, etc.) and looking for the 'holes' or 'weaknesses' in the various defence layers which are supposed to constitute a safe system, well adapted to its users.

Van Elslande et al (2008) argued that, most safety studies have been based upon a person approach and stress the role of human error in the production of 75-90% of accidents. But, it would be wrong to regard this 'error' as the primary cause of accidents. A safe system approach will rather consider it as a consequence of malfunctions further upstream, so that human error is only a link in the chain of events leading up to an accident. And, he is a necessary link as far as the driving system is unable to function without drivers.

The so called ‘human error’ may be explored in many different approaches on the basis of how it is perceived (Van Elslande et al, 2008). The common sense of using ‘human error’ in the framework of everyday life and in safety research, gives the rise to an oversimplified conception of how events occur. Such an outlook neglects the complexity of accident phenomena which are the result of an amalgamation of factors. This affects the way to manage the root causes of accidents (Hollnagel and Amalberti, 2001). RTAs are the results of a combination of factors and undesirable result of interaction between an operator and a task, arising from interaction between internal and external determinants (Van Elslande et al, 2007).

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 2: Interactions within the elementary human-vehicle-environment system (source: Van Elslande et al, 2008)

The traditional view of road safety considers road crashes are usually the sole responsibility of individual road users. Despite, the fact that, many other factors beyond their control may have come into play, such as the poor design of roads or vehicles. But human error does not always lead to disastrous consequences. Human behaviour is governed not only by the individual’s knowledge and skills, but also by the environment in which the behaviour takes place (Rumar, 1999). Indirect influences, such as the design and layout of the road, the nature of the vehicle, and traffic laws and their enforcement affect behaviour in important ways (Nantulya and Reich, 2002).

Moreover, traffic volume, traffic speed and traffic compositions have adverse effect on the frequency and severity of RTAs. As the volume of traffic grows; opposing vehicles increases, intervals for passing vehicles are less available, the accidents due to improper passing become frequent, and the frequency of accidents grows approximately in direct proportion to the average traffic volume (ibid). Hijar et al (2003) asserts that, as the volume of traffic increases, the speed of vehicles drops and the main kind of accident becomes a nose-tail collision.

McMahon and Ward (2005) and Hobbs (1979) claimed that, vehicle defects lead significantly to accidents which are mainly those related to the lack of regular maintenance, of which defective tires and brakes failure most frequently. Vehicle defects contribute to less than 5% of crashes. The rise in the number of motor vehicles and the amount of motorized traffic along with economic development are key determinates of risk of road crashes. The quality of road network, vehicle compositions, increase in car ownership and the extent of public transport and facilities for more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and cyclists, all contribute to the level of risk. In low income and middle income countries, rapid growth in motorization has not been accompanied by sufficient improvements in the road design to allow for such growth to take place without an increase in the rate of road traffic crashes.

Generally, every accident is not usually attributable to a single cause but to a chain of unique multiple factors or failures associated with the road design deficiencies, vehicle defects, and road user errors. In most cases the traffic police associate traffic accident with a single most important cause on the spot of accident and do not list the multiple factors.

2.3 Road Traffic Accidents: Cost Components

Broadly accident cost components can be classified into casualty-related costs (lost output[3], medical costs[4], and the pain, grief, and suffering value), and accident-related costs (property damage[5] and administration[6] ) (De leon et al, 2005). As shown in figure 3 below, all are resource costs, except for the pain, grief, and suffering component.

illustration not visible in this excerpt

Figure 3:  Classification of accident cost components (source: De leon et al (2005)

In addition to the above costs, everyone killed, injured or disabled by a road traffic crash has a network of others, including family and friends, who are deeply affected. Globally, millions of people are coping with the death or disability of family members from road traffic injury (Sleet and Branche, 2004). The social cost of road crashes and injuries is a measure of the total cost of road crashes to the nation. It includes loss of life and life quality, loss of productivity, medical, legal and court, and property damage costs. Loss of quality of life of casualties and their families and friends ('human costs' or 'human losses') are the immaterial costs through suffering, pain, sorrow and loss of the joy of living (De leon et al, 2005). According to WHO (2010), by 2030 road traffic injuries would become the fifth leading cause of death in the world, if appropriate solutions are not enforced.

The economic cost of road crashes and injuries is estimated to be 1% of gross national product (GNP) in low-income countries, 1.5% in middle-income countries and 2% in high-income countries. The global cost is estimated to be US$ 518 billion per year. Low-income and middle-income countries account for US$ 65 billion, more than they receive in development assistance (WHO, 2009). Road traffic injuries place a heavy burden, not only on global and national economies but also household finances. Many families are driven deeply into poverty by the loss of breadwinners and the added burden of caring for members disabled by road traffic injuries (Sleet and Branche, 2004).

2.4 Human Security: A Paradigm Shift

Changes in the security environment after the end of Cold War have seriously affected our security concepts and paradigms. Human security was conceptualized and presented to the global public in the Human Development Report of UNDP in 1994. The concept has evolved since then and, today, we can identify quite a number of seriously conceptualized definitions and theoretical approaches that have led to the formation of a number of practical attempts to provide it. This concept is theoretically rather well substantiated, attractive and modern (Prezelj, nd). The concept of human security from its inception till these days has been difficult to come up with a precise definition among scholars and institutions. However, roughly there are two kinds of approaches of human security currently; i.e. traditional/narrow and broad (Paris, 2001).

In the traditional/narrow security conception, state sovereignty is the most important value; it is the state’s sovereignty[7] that is to be secured or to be defended. In a national security conception, the key values are exclusive territorial control, diplomatic autonomy, and political independence. Another, more compact way of putting this is that sovereignty implies territorial integrity and political freedom (diplomatic autonomy plus internal independence) (Bajpai, 2000). Security for a longer period of time is understood narrowly as the protecting security of the state from external military attack or as protecting the national interests or as a global security from nuclear catastrophe (UNDP, 1994). It has been related more to states than to people. Before and during the Cold War the whole meaning of security is connoted to the preservation of states (political entity) well-being from external aggression. The superpowers were locked in an ideological struggle, fighting a Cold War all over the world.  Maintaining the territorial integrity of the state has been the central interest of ‘states’ until the end of the Cold War than looking inside what is really jeopardizing the life of the people. According to Asplund (2004), security according to the Realist tradition is a zero sum game, i.e. ‘a state’s security is another state’s insecurity’. However, after the fall of the Soviet Union, and the bi-polar world, academics and politicians have sought to redefine the concepts of security in order to accommodate the new world order.


[1] The study embraced recodered data (from 2008/09-2010/11) by the mentioned institutions.

[2] The researcher has tried to catch the kernel of questionnaire responses through rigorous reading. Next, to get the meanings of responses the researcher has sorted responses into various themes as causes, effects and measures and suggested mechanisms to tackle RTAs. Finally, the researcher integrated questionnaire responses with other sources in the analysis section.

[3] Lost output: These costs result from the temporary or permanent disability of the injured, and the complete loss of production of fatalities.

[4] Medical costs: These result from the treatment of casualties, e.g. costs of hospital, rehabilitation, medicines and adaptations for the handicapped.

[5] Property damages are costs result from damage to goods such as vehicles, freight, roads and fixed roadside objects.

[6] Administration costs are incurred by the police and insurance companies.

[7] Sovereignty implies that within their territory people are free to regulate their own affairs as they see fit.  It means that a people and its government have exclusive control over some space or territory. It also means that they are free to choose their enemies and friends from among other peoples and governments as also to conduct their relations with other societies without reference to any other authority or body.

Excerpt out of 77 pages


Road traffic accidents and human security in Addis Ababa
Addis Ababa University  (Peace and Security Studies)
Human Security
Masters Level
Catalog Number
ISBN (eBook)
ISBN (Book)
File size
1114 KB
road, addis, ababa
Quote paper
Yared Debebe (Author), 2014, Road traffic accidents and human security in Addis Ababa, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


  • No comments yet.
Read the ebook
Title: Road traffic accidents and human security in Addis Ababa

Upload papers

Your term paper / thesis:

- Publication as eBook and book
- High royalties for the sales
- Completely free - with ISBN
- It only takes five minutes
- Every paper finds readers

Publish now - it's free