Objectives The study was to examine the nature and risk factors associated with road traffic crashes on unpaved roads and identify potential measures to control them. Problem
Background Road traffic crashes has become a major problem for most countries including Ghana. Though crashes on unpaved roads are low compared to the paved roads, there is a disproportionately high incidence of traffic deaths and injuries on unpaved road. Method: Police reported crash and injury data for the period 2014–2016 in Ghana were aggregated and analyzed using the Micro-computer Accident Analysis Package (MAAP) software. The fatality index measure was employed to assess the severity of injuries in the crashes.
Results Generally, unpaved roads traffic crashes resulted in severer injury outcomes than on paved roads. The relative risk of death of crashes on unpaved roads was 1.6 times that on a paved road. The risk of death was highest among cyclists (40.0%), pedestrians (39.2%), goods vehicle occupants (29.0%) and motorcyclists (25.3%). Fatalities were preponderant with vehicular-pedestrian (30.1%), head-on collisions (30.1%) and vehicle ran off road (17.9%). Most of these fatalities occur in the evenings between 15:00 and 20:00 hours and during the months of November (9.7%) and December (17.0%). Unpaved roads with streetlights were identified to be safer compared to without streetlight.
Conclusions Vulnerable road users (i.e. pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists) and goods vehicle occupants run a high risk of death when involved in crashes on unpaved roads. The use of goods vehicles to ferry passengers and inappropriate speeding in settlement areas are key contributory risk factors associated with travels on unpaved roads. Efforts to tackle crashes on unpaved roads must focus on protecting the vulnerable road users. Law enforcing agencies should check the inappropriate use of goods vehicles to ferry passengers.