Dozens die in Burkina Faso crash

On November 16, 2008, in Burkina Faso, road traffic injuries, by Karen Grepin

BBC NEWS | Africa | Dozens die in Burkina Faso crash

Generally I am very happy to read anything in the international media about Burkina Faso – a country where I spent a great deal of time a few years back and one of my favorite places in the world. Last night, however, I was saddened to read about a horrific traffic accident that has claimed the lives at least 66 people, likely many more, on the road a few hundred kilometers west of Ouaga.

Road traffic accidents claim thousands of lives every year in countries like Burkina, and as this article suggests, their incidence is not totally haphazard. Accidents can largely be predicted, hence they can also be prevented. What could have been done in this case? Well for starters, perhaps not crowding almost a hundred people into a single truck would have least minimized the losses. Not traveling at night on roads that are poorly lit and known to be in poor shape. Maybe working on the roads so that they are not always in such bad shape. I’ve seen potholes so bad and so deep on roads in Northern Ghana that flipped a transport truck over.

My thoughts are with the families of this horrific accident. Most were traveling to Cote D’Ivoire, presumably to earn a living to feed and school their families.

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