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The Addis Ababa Traffic Management Bureau says there are more unlicensed drivers on the streets than ever before and this is causing an increase in fatal traffic accidents. Last fiscal year the Bureau reported that 1,600 people were caught driving without a license and 200 with forged licenses.
There are likely more unlicensed drivers in Addis because they don’t come to the attention of authorities unless they are pulled over.
Commander Girma Tessema, head of traffic program head at the Addis Ababa Police Commission says the consequences are painful,“When people who are unqualified drive vehicles for private cars or to provide public transportation it costs lives.
We constantly are hearing stories, radio and TV about this and we see that many forged licenses are being printed in Addis and stopping this will also save lives.”
Many global reports show that people driving with suspended licenses are more likely to have an accident and three times more likely to cause a fatality.
Commander Girma added that 1,600 drivers were caught offering bribes to escape punishment.
“We don’t allow bribes we fire the officers and charge the drivers when this occurs,” he said.
In 2015/16 hundreds of people died in Addis Ababa from accidents caused by speeding and drunk driving.
To reduce the traffic accidents, Ethiopia plans to restart its old licensing system which had seven different grades of licenses and required different examinations for each. For example there were separate licenses for motorcycles, cars, transporting passengers or trucks.
In other news the Addis Ababa City Road Authority Driver Union and Addis Traffic Management Agency are planning a 5km road race to create awareness about the horrors of drunk driving. The motto will be “If I drink alcohol, I will not drive.”
The program will include research and discussion.