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Addis Ababa Fights Drink Driving with Emotional Testimonial

(New York, USA) – The city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has launched a new media campaign to curb drink driving. The television and radio PSA centers on a heartfelt testimonial from a man whose brother was killed by a driver under the influence of alcohol. The campaign will air for up to four weeks beginning April 11, 2018, as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS), of which Vital Strategies is an implementing partner.


Traffic deaths are on the rise in Addis Ababa, with at least 477 lives lost to road crashes in 2017. Drink driving one of the four key risk factors addressed by BIGRS. In 2016 and 2017, Vital Strategies supported the BIGRS city team to develop, test and broadcast mass media campaigns which, combined with enhanced enforcement of drinking and driving laws, are showing a positive impact: In a 2015 study, nearly 10 percent of drivers stopped at checkpoints tested above the legal alcohol limit; this dropped to 3 percent in a 2017 study. The city is committed to continuing its efforts to achieve lasting changes in behavior and social norms by mounting campaigns to fight drink driving and enhancing enforcement activities.

“Consumption of alcohol significantly increases a driver’s risk of involvement in a crash,” said José Luis Castro, President and CEO of Vital Strategies. “Over 1.25 million people around the world die in road crashes each year, and drink driving is a significant risk factor – and a preventable one. We applaud Addis Ababa for its continued efforts to reduce drink driving through hard-hitting media campaigns and strong enforcement. We are proud to work hand-in-hand with the Transport Programs Management Office to help them achieve their goals.”

Prior to its partnership with BIGRS, the city had no mechanism for testing drivers’ alcohol use. Thanks to recent procurement and training efforts, along with a supporting PSA illustrating the process of stopping and testing drivers at checkpoints, testing drivers for alcohol through use of breathalyzers is now possible in Addis Ababa. The city plans to heighten these enforcement efforts during the campaign by increasing the number of checkpoints to test drivers for alcohol.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit or Twitter @VitalStrat.

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