In Senegal, non-compliance with road rules and aging of the vehicle fleet are the main causes of accidents.
Road accidents became the main topic of news in Senegal in early 2023, especially due to tragedies in Sikilo in the center of the country and Sakal in the North, which killed 40 and 22 people respectively. killed and several people were injured as a result of a car collision.
In recent years, the modernization of road infrastructure and means of transport has been carried out in Senegal with the construction of highways and roads in large urban centers.
According to the Ministry of Infrastructure, Land Transport and Openings, 2,526 km of asphalt roads, 210 km of highways, 21 bridges and overpasses, and 6,673 km of rural roads were built between 2012 and 2020.**
In 2021, the state also established the Land Transportation Development Fund, which provides investment and operational financing for the modernization of public transportation systems.**
Despite these efforts, traffic in Senegal is congested.
Traffic accidents are a growing concern across the country due to their scale resulting in human casualties and significant property damage.
With more than 49,611 incidents in Senegal between 2018 and 2020, including 2,234 deaths, according to statistics collected from the National Fire Brigade, these rather frequent accidents have created a real atmosphere of psychosis and insecurity.
In our doctoral dissertation, which will be presented in February 2023, we examine traffic accidents in Senegal from 2018 to 2020. We observed the aging of the Senegalese vehicle fleet, the lack of respect for the Highway Code and the heavy involvement of such vehicles. such as trucks and vans for use in urban and freight transport.
1- Depreciation of the car park
More than 40% of vehicles involved in accidents are over 20 years old, including trucks and lorries and urban transport. These accidents happened between 12:00 and 18:00.
We are also witnessing the establishment of vehicle assembly plants such as SENBUS, opened in 2003, in partnership with Indian multinational Tata Motors, aiming to produce 600 30-seater minibuses per year to meet national demand and the region in mass transport. We also note the creation of many other structures developing in the field of transport (travel agencies, driving schools, parks for the sale of vehicles, etc.).
At the same time, the government revised the age limit for imported cars and raised it from 5 years to 8 years. A decree to increase the age of vehicles allowed for import into Senegal has been in place since 2012, and according to data provided by various services such as customs, the number of vehicles imported has increased from 14,317 to 26,303 between 2011 and 2012. 84% increase in Senegal car fleet.
The number of vehicles registered in all regions of the country is increasing. In February 2021, 652,000 vehicles were registered in Senegal.
This situation is not without complications, because at the same time we see an increase in the number of road accidents.
2- Non-observance of highway rules
Regarding non-compliance with the Highway Code, we noted that 15.25 percent of accidents are related to non-compliance with the Highway Code.
Knowing and mastering the language of the road is a mandatory requirement for driving. Most car drivers learned the rules of the road in driving schools. But despite learning this important language of the road and spending time in traffic, some drivers do not follow the Highway Code. A split-second inattention in the middle of traffic can be fatal and dramatic.
– Dangerous overtaking
13.55% of accidents are dangerous overtaking. Many drivers do not follow special rules for this operation, although they are written in the highway code. But too many users should be careful not to endanger other users.
– Lane change
Sudden lane changes are the cause of 2.85% of accidents. In all cases, even on familiar roads, sudden lane changes should be avoided to combat vehicle collisions that can cause bodily injury and property damage.
– Reckless entry into traffic
Finally, 3.5% of accidents occur as a result of reckless entry into traffic. Users must behave on the road in such a way as not to cause any inconvenience or danger to other users. Careless entry of one of the users can harm not only the author, but also other users.
Currently, there are no studies to determine the cost of road accidents in Senegal. This documentary limitation poses several challenges, particularly the ability to evaluate different prevention programs.
Much remains to be done to improve road safety in Senegal. For this, we can make several suggestions based on the results of our research: • Research in this field should be directed to the health economy and should be developed.
• The state should apply zero tolerance sanctions against violators in cases of traffic violations, such as immediate driver’s license revocation and vehicle impoundment.
In this case, he can create traffic courts with magistrates specialized in traffic.
• Improving prevention by developing road safety awareness, particularly by including courses on the topic in school curricula, is also a solution.
• Insurance companies can use part of their resources to contribute to the prevention of traffic accidents.
• Special attention should be paid to the fight against corruption at the technical control level.
• Car park renewal should also be considered.
• Prohibiting the circulation of large vehicles and goods such as trucks and vans for urban transport during peak hours, from 12:00 to 18:00, which is the peak time of urban traffic, is also a solution.