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Cablegate: Demarche On Distracted Driving

VZCZCXRO6186
RR RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #0223 0351348
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 041348Z FEB 10
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7640
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHLMC/MILLENNIUM CHALLENGE CORP
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 0046
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 5708
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0025
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 1656
RUEHDJ/AMEMBASSY DJIBOUTI 0252
RUEHAE/AMEMBASSY ASMARA 3880
RUEHJB/AMEMBASSY BUJUMBURA 0108
RUEHPL/AMEMBASSY PORT LOUIS 0941
RUEHAN/AMEMBASSY ANTANANARIVO 0175
RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0019

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 000223

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E-JWIEGERT, OES/PCI LSPERLING, MGERDIN,
OES/ETC, OES/FO, OES/ENV, AF/E, OES/S NANCY CARTER-FOSTER

E.O. 12958: NA
TAGS: SENV PGOV ECON ET EU SOCI UNDP UNGA

SUBJECT: DEMARCHE ON DISTRACTED DRIVING

REF: STATE 00006703

1. (U) Regional Environment Officer (REO) and Regional
Environment Assistant (REA) delivered subject demarche to Dr.
Kebede Worku, Ethiopia's State Minister of Health, on
Thursday, February 4, 2010. Dr. Kebede agreed that
distracted driving stemming from cell phone usage and texting
while driving is a problem that contributes to traffic
accidents. A law prohibiting cell phone use in the Addis
Ababa area was passed recently in order to address the
problem, but it is too early to report results.

2. (U) Dr. Kebede did not have access to traffic-related
hospitalization statistics, but agreed to contact the Medical
Services Directorate to inquire whether their hospitalization
records identify victims of distracted driving-related
accidents. In his capacity as State Health Minister, he
noted that many traffic accidents in Ethiopia result in bone
fractures where victims may spend several months in
hospitals, thereby burdening health delivery systems.
Moreover, it was Dr. Kebede's understanding that over 50
percent of orthopedic beds in hospitals are filled with
traffic accident victims.

3. (U) Dr. Kebede also highlighted that a bill is close to
approval that will mandate the creation of a safety
coordination office to be housed under the Ministry of
Transport and Communication. The safety coordination office'
governing body will include officials from relevant
ministries, insurance company representatives, and other
relevant stakeholders and it will play a role in awareness
campaigns.

#YATES

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