Vancouver Ethiopian Blog

Ethiopian life in Vancouver, BC, Canada

New Traffic Laws in Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is continually growing and the number of cars on the road is growing on a daily basis. Some of the cars should not be allowed to be on the road at all as they could be potential killers.

I have seen many cars, especially cabs, that transport people, that had mechanical and engine problems. If these cars were to experience brake problems, then a huge accident would undoubtedly take place.

Compared to other developing countries, Addis Ababa’s traffic problems are nothing to worry about. However, the recent traffic law changes in Addis triggered me into writing this post.

In Addis, most of the time, pedestrians don’t walk on sidewalks, even if sidewalks are available. For some reason, pedestrians like to share the road with cars. I don`t know why this continues to happen. The taxi and min-bus drivers also make the road too difficult to navigate as they violate too many traffic laws.

The good news is that something has been done about it. A revised traffic law is now in effect.

Photo: Addis Ababa’s Skyscraper

Photo: Addis Ababa near National Bank on Churchill Road

What’s New in the Revised Traffic Laws of Addis Ababa?

During the AU summit, a few months ago, Addis Ababans were subjected to some stringent traffic laws. Compulsory buckling of seat belts and use of zebra points when crossings streets. I am sure that it will take some time to follow these rules in Addis as no one wears seat belts and use zebra points to cross the streets.

Yes, I agree that the new rules are great, but I am not sure if they can be enforced. It might take a generation to comply with the laws. But, still I believe that these laws are steps in the right direction.

The full copy of the new traffic law is available to purchase at the Addis Ababa Municipality office in Piassa for only 6 Birr (or 42 cents US).

Here are the top 10 and most helpful new rules:

  1. Seat belts are compulsory for driver and front seat passenger.
  2. Children 7 years of age and under are not allowed in the front seat.
  3. Honking your horn when not necessary is an offence.
  4. Pedestrians walking on the road when there is a sidewalk available can be fined.
  5. Pedestrians must use zebra crossings.
  6. Pedestrians can’t jaywalk across city’s ring road anywhere they please.
  7. Motorcyclists must wear crash helmets – both the driver and the pillion rider.
  8. Driving too slow is an offence.
  9. If you have pets or other farm animals and they block traffic on the street, then you have committed an offence.
  10. Drivers must not use their mobile phones while driving

The New Laws Have Good Intentions

These new set of rules are great if followed by all motorists and pedestrians despite the inconveniences. I hope that all will obey these rules and as a result, the roads of Addis Ababa will be much safer.

I believe that these traffic laws will keep everyone safe as:

  • Drivers don’t have to think about someone jumping in front of their car
  • Pedestrians won’t go deaf by crazy honks; and noise levels on roads will go down
  • Parents won’t get worried about their kids as they will be seating properly in their cars
  • Drivers won’t be distracted by phone calls and cause accidents

Going to Addis?

Now you are up to date on the new traffic laws of Addis Ababa …

Next time you go to Addis, remember the new traffic laws and have a safe drive in town.

Do you like the new laws? If so, why? Do you want additional traffic laws added? Please share your thoughts.


To read the Amharic version of the traffic regulations, click here

To read the full traffic regulation in English, click here


My next blog entry will be on Thursday April 29, 2010.
Mullkam Samint!

April 22, 2010 - Posted by | Ethiopian Businesses, Ethiopian Careers, Ethiopian Citizenship, Ethiopian Culture, Ethiopian Education, Ethiopian Investments, Ethiopian Media, Ethiopian Parenting, Ethiopian Politics, Ethiopian Relationships, Ethiopian Socials, Ethiopians & Technology, Ethiopians Back Home, Ethiopians in Vancouver | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I added your blog to bookmarks. And i’ll read your articles more often!

    Comment by jachknoncache | June 8, 2010 | Reply

  2. […] late January 2010, Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa hosted the 14th Ordinary Summit of the African Union (AU) heads of […]

    Pingback by Kenyan-Born Harvard Professor, Calestous Juma Says: “Invest in High Speed Internet” to African Leaders « Vancouver Ethiopian Blog | June 11, 2010 | Reply

  3. my question is when one driver drives on the ring road, especially on the high way, but one guy jumps and collides with his car and the pedestrian dies. The driver tries to save him and brings him to the hospital. So, who is responsible for this accident? Tell me according to the law of Ethiopia. God bless Ethiopia

    Comment by mekusha | January 4, 2011 | Reply

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