Capital Ethiopia Newspaper

“The Saga of Reckless Driving”

It is told and told time and again that reckless driving in Addis Ababa is nothing but a reflection of the standard of driving license one holds.  I am only interested to indicate to those researchers the need of examining deeply the different centers of license issuing institutions available in Addis and outside of Addis, and the need to make comparison of the organizational and technical competencies of those entities in the interest of establishing a clear understanding of the chaotic driving situations that result in the loss of precious lives and materials.
Rumors have it that a driving license is easier to get outside of Addis rather than in Addis, both financially and technically.  If such rumors are correct, then, the whole thing becomes suicidal. 
Today, every decent family or community wants to see its young employed in some kind of trade.  One of these trades is the transportation sector.  Conversely, vehicle owners or car rentals who establish their livelihoods on the rentals they drive to employ drivers who offer their services cheaply.  Cheap labor, obviously, more often than not, depends on the low quality of technical knowledge and experience.  So, private drivers’ employers go for the cheaper offers. 
It is my conviction that if such situations prevail, they should be considered as positive inputs for solving the problems rather than taking them as the sources of the problem, because, the solution rests in the establishment of a synchronized license issuing system where age, experience, technical knowledge, behavioral change and traffic ethics are taken as vital scientific modules.
Most of all, respect for traffic regulations is important.  One cannot and should not blame every error on the traffic institutions.  It is common place, today, to see bigger vehicle drivers such as Toyota Hilux pick-ups, or the upward mobile business-person’s 4-wheel drives or luxurious cars,  diplomatic vehicles, company vehicles and of course, the mini-bus taxis including the 12-seaters, and sometimes government plated vehicles speed up desperately to take over each other, let alone the common-person’s poor sedan cars.   It is worse to see two big vans stopping beside each other in the middle of the road and chatting  as one drives totally forbidding the right of way for the vehicle behind them, even if one jumps on  the horn repeatedly.
How about the naughty driver who slips in infront of you from the right corner he stands as you pass, without making indication and comes into collusion.  God forbid the van that drives on your right hand side so swiftly by shaving off the right side of your vehicle, and disappears into oblivion in a split second before even you wake-up from the havoc you suffered and from your frantic state of mind.  And how about the extreme odds that collide with you head on?  The above categorization does not obviously include the Sino-trucks.  I give them sabbatical leaves as they are in developmental hiccups. 
If there is anything to suggest regulating such irregularities, it will only be a reminder to the traffic bureau to strengthen situational evaluation, follow-up and control, including disguised and intensive as well as extensive mobile control—leaving out ceremonial and obvious control.
Then, drivers must behave more taking seriously the traffic words; and thinking over the private, community and even societal value systems with a sense of maturity.  Such a sense of maturity should be instilled in the minds of the reckless drivers through hard and harsh rules not perverted by bad governance, bribe and a system of insidious corruption.
If such a step is given proper attention and translated into action, I am pretty certain that reckless driving will be controlled to a remarkable degree.
On the part of the City Administration or, it may be that of the Traffic Bureau, that sufficient provision for missing road signs to be in place.  For example, the end of a dividing wall between an upper road and lower road is left unmarked in some places like the road leading to the Diasporas Square as one drives from Arat Kilo.  A disaster that occurs in the dark in such a place will result in the loss of precious lives, letting alone the material to blink.  So, if a sign is damaged or totally destroyed over-night, it  should be instantly replaced—let us be please less bureaucratic, and squabble less over pecuniary issues.  While one admits the dark streets are the results of energy shortage, it will be unacceptable to witness the absence of proper street signs in places so demanding all through-out the year.
For all that, however, reckless driving should be condemned to continue as a system of normal daily life.  Please let us continue building this nation in a decent and civilized manner and not in camouflaged sense of behavior.  Thank you.