Transport authorities are forming a federal agency responsible for all road safety activities at the national level, merging two other agencies now defunct.

The Road Safety & Insurance Fund Service is the outcome of a merger between the National Road Safety Council Office, the Insurance Fund Service and two directorates previously under the now-defunct Federal Transport Authority.

A team of experts at the Ministry of Transport & Logistics have been working on drafting the regulation since the new administration restructuring proclamation was ratified by Parliament last October. They are awaiting the approval of the establishment regulation forwarded to the Council of Ministers two months ago. The government plans to establish a dedicated federal agency responsible for all road safety activities, vehicle and driving licensing standards, something that does not exist, according to Adel Abdellahi, head of operations at the Insurance Fund Service.

“The new entity is expected to open branches in the regional states," he said.

According to the former Federal Transport Authority, the cost associated with road accidents is estimated at an average of 80 million dollars a year.

The Insurance Fund Administration Service is responsible for providing compensation to victims of road accidents caused by vehicles without third party insurance coverage. It also pays for emergency medical treatment involving car accidents. Last year, it paid out one million Birr to 38 people. Close to 4,161 people lost their lives to traffic accidents during the same period, while a little more than 10,000 people sustained injuries.

Established in 2011, the National Road Safety Council Office is mandated to formulate national road safety strategies and evaluate existing standards. Both agencies operate under the supervision of the Transport Ministry.

One of the directorates to be put under the new agency was responsible for implementing and enforcing government policies and laws regulating the transport sector. There are 1.3 million registered vehicles in Ethiopia.

The agency to be formed will receive five percent of the annual fees collected for the road fund.

“This is to enable it to finance post-accident emergency medical service provisions,” Abeje Mamo, a legal advisor at the Ministry of Transport, told Fortune. "Bad roads also cause accidents. This is the rationale behind the proposal for directing five percent of the collected revenues to the agency."

Established in 1997, the Ethiopian Road Fund had collected annual fees from vehicle owners to finance road maintenance works undertaken by the federal government. It also generated revenues from tariffs levied on petroleum products. It collected 30 billion Br in its 24 years of operation, distributed to federal and regional road authorities for safety and maintenance works for over half a million kilometres of roads over two decades. Nearly nine billion Birr was collected in the past three years.

The Ethiopian Road Fund was disbanded when the government was restructured last October, transferring its mandates to the Ethiopian Roads Administration.

PUBLISHED ON Jan 01,2022 [ VOL 22 , NO 1131]

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