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Speed control in developing countries: issues, challenges and opportunities in reducing road traffic injuries

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Abstract:

Speed has been determined to be one of the most common contributing factors in vehicle crashes. This study explores vehicle speed as a factor in the causation of road traffic crashes, using the example of Ghana. It examines the effectiveness of various speed control measures, based on policereported traffic crashes in Ghana and published works on speed control measures in both industrialized and developing countries. In Ghana, pedestrians were the main victims of road traffic injuries. The dominant driver error assigned by traffic police was loss of control, with the underlying factor being excessive vehicle speeds. The ‘speed factor' alone accounted for more than 50% of all Ghanaian road traffic crashes between 1998 and 2000. While the enforcement of speed limits by traffic police may not be affordable for most developing countries, rumble strips and speed humps were found to be effective on Ghanaian roads. Rumble strips installed on the main Accra-Kumasi highway reduced crashes by about 35% and fatalities by about 55%. Reducing vehicle speeds may be one of the most effective interventions to stem traffic crashes in low-income countries. However, setting lower speed limits is not an effective intervention without the traffic law enforcement resources to ensure that limits are followed. Developing countries must also look to other speed reduction measures such as speed bumps and rumble strips, roads that segregate high- and low-speed users, and technological solutions such as speed governors, as well as greater public awareness of the problem.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1076/icsp.10.1.77.14113

Publication date: April 1, 2003

tandf/icsp/2003/00000010/F0020001/art00013
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