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???metadata.dc.contributor.*???: Dr. Teshome Demissie,Dr. Derib Ado
Keywords: Road Safety
Issue Date: Nov-2016
Publisher: AAU
Abstract: A significant step taken to address the road safety problem in Ethiopia was the formulation of a strategic plan/policy based on UN/WHO‘s recommendation of 2011-2020 as a Decade of Action for road safety. A key notion of the policy was stakeholders‘ collaboration based on the philosophy of shared responsibility and safe systems approach, an approach that promoted understanding and addressing the road and its environment, road users and vehicles as a whole instead of targeting road users alone. A crucial issue for ensuring road safety adopting this approach should be communication among the stakeholders. The purpose of this study was thus to: (1) understand stakeholders‘ conceptualizations of the road safety problem and ways of addressing it (2) explore which road safety knowledge and practices road safety stakeholders incorporate into/exclude from their daily practices; (3) identify impacts of these incorporated/excluded knowledge and practices; and (4) examine how the stakeholders position themselves and others in relation to their role to alleviating the road safety problem. The research was situated in the epistemology of social constructionism, adopted CDA as a theory and method of analysis, and used in-depth interviews, key documents and observation as instruments of data collection. Fairclough‘s three dimensional model of analysis (discourse as text, as discursive practice, and as social practice) was the analytical framework employed to explore the stakeholders‘ social identities, social relations and systems of knowledge and beliefs. Stakeholders uniformly conceptualized road safety in Ethiopia as a serious problem that had to be addressed through their concerted and collaborative efforts. However, they had different, mostly narrow and contradictory, pictures of what road safety is and how it should be addressed. The study has thus confirmed that stakeholders‘ road safety conceptualization was not based on the knowledge/belief systems of the approach that was adopted nationally. Regarding the recontextualization of road safety knowledge and practices, the Ethiopian road safety policy was formulated based on the UN/WHO‘s recommendation for action. In line with the sources, the central call of key documents and players was stakeholders‘ collaboration to address the problem comprehensively working on the five pillars: road safety management, safe roads, safe vehicles, safe road use behavior and post-crash care. However, the practice was far from the claim; the collaboration, if any, was only among the few government institutions, and in the form of submission to dominant players. Disregarding the other key issues, the practice targeted road users, taking them as sole causes of road traffic accidents. Stakeholders‘ construction of the self and others was analyzed to understand their social relations and social identities: how they position themselves and others in relation to their contribution to iv road safety. Stakeholders of both government and private institutions raised several issues by which they constructed themselves favorably and others unfavorably. Each claimed to have been devoted to ensuring road safety, and blamed others for the prevalence of the problem in the country. Road users were no different; they put both government and private institutions as aggravators of the problem involving in unethical practices. Hence, there was not any collaboration among road safety stakeholders and road users to cause positive change. Overall, road safety was framed as the sole subject of a few government institutions that had both historical and political position to policy and practices, but that worked for the perpetuation of the position they held. Despite policy formulations and claims of working accordingly, road safety practice in Ethiopia was influenced by the individual user approach, emphasizing on education and enforcement; as a result, change in road safety knowledge and practice proved to have been so insignificant. On the other hand, although they were not strong enough to influence, emerging road safety discourses/practices were observed; if they were shaped and strengthened, they could positively contribute to change the road safety problem widespread in the country. Finally, theoretical and practical implications of the study were explained, recommendations for the concerned bodies were provided, and potential issues for future studies have been suggested. Key words: road safety conceptualization, road and its environment, stakeholders, road user, vehicle, vision zero, critical discourse analysis, safe systems approach, individual user approach.
Appears in Collections:Thesis - Journalism and Communication

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