Road safety in Tanzania: a questionnaire study

Even though the traffic fatality risk (fatalities per 100 000 inhabitants) in Tanzania is quite low, the fatality rate (fatalities per 10 000 vehicles) is one of the highest in the world. With increasing vehicle density this means that the number of people dying in traffic will increase dramatically in the near future. Therefore it is important to implement measures to increase traffic safety as soon as possible, and in order to be able to do this in an efficient way, it is important to investigate where the main problems lie. Within the EU project ASSET-Road a questionnaire study on road safety was conducted with 250 truck drivers in Tanzania. The study was done to increase the knowledge about the situation of the Tanzanian truckers, who are the most frequent road users in the country. The drivers were interviewed in three different towns in southern Tanzania, and participation was voluntary. The questionnaire treated demographics, the state of the drivers’ vehicles, the frequency of breakdowns and the maintenance of the vehicles. Further questions were concerned with driver behaviour, crash involvement, crash risk and crash mitigation. The drivers who participated in the study were predominantly male, their average age was 36 years. Around 40 % of the trucks did not have any seat belts installed, with a larger share of older trucks lacking belts. Most of the drivers who had seat belts reported to use them, however. Almost 40 % of the drivers reported to have been involved in at least one crash, and 45 % of those drivers had experienced fatal crashes. This underlines that crashes counted per vehicle are very frequent, and the results are often severe, especially when heavy vehicles are involved. Truck drivers reported to drive 10.6 hours without break on average, with several drivers reporting that they had to drive 24 hours without rest. When asked what the three most common crash causes were, driver related causes were prominent. Drivers were said to be reckless, further causes named often were drunkenness, inattention and sleepiness. One of the most mentioned crash mitigation strategy was driver education, but also improvement of the roads and the vehicles. This indicates that countermeasures should be implemented in an integrated fashion, taking the aspects driver, vehicle, infrastructure, legislature and other road users into account.

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