Enforcement of speed gauges for highway buses stepped up
BUSES and trucks along the notorious “Death Highway” had better make sure they are hooked up to a Telematics system, which measures their speeds, according to police.
“We have a plan to ban vehicles that refuse to install the Telematics system from using the highway,” Police Colonel Soe Myint Oo from the Highway Police Force said in a press conference.
Buses driving along the YangonNay Pyi Taw-Mandalay route have been required to have the Telematics system installed since last November, said Daw Myint Myint Shein, a spokesperson for B Smart, which won the National Road Safety Committee and Ministry of Construction’s contract for their installation. Trucks needed to have the system in place by February, she said.
B Smart has installed the device in about 1000 trucks and another 1000 buses, said the company’s Supervisor U Aung Soe Oo. Vehicles are required to pay K25,000 monthly for the service.
Trucks, defined as vehicles over 14 feet (4.25 metres) long, are allowed to use the highway if they have the system installed and are carrying items in need of quick transport: newspapers, fish, prawns, crabs, eggs, chicks, fruit and flowers, Highway Police Force officials said.
Trucks, depending on their weight, are limited to 60 to 80 kilometers (37-50 miles) per hour while passenger express buses are limited to 100km an hour.
After an educational period, which began in June, police began using the devices to take action against speeding drivers on September 1.
Through October 5, they have charged 1424 vehicles, said Col Soe Myint Oo. Penalties carry a K50,000 fine, a one-month jail sentence or both.
But the most common speeding offenders are private cars, records show.
Between 2013 and 2014, traffic accidents involving private cars accounted for 85 percent of total traffic accidents, 75pc of the accidents involving a fatality and 80pc involving injuries, Col Soe Myint Oo said.
“Therefore, we have planned to extend the installation of Telematics to private cars travelling along the highway,” he said.
In September, police began monitoring the speed of private vehicles, said Highway Police Force Major Yan Naung Win. When drivers were pulled over, they were confused, noting that they had only been following the instructions of the signs on the highway.
Those signs, said Yan Naung Win, were not meant to instruct drivers on the speed limit but were erected by the Ministry of Construction to measure the speed the drivers were traveling and inform the drivers of that speed.
Police say their speed crackdown, which started in June, has led to a decline in accidents. Fourteen of 80 were speed-related in July, 25 of 70 were speed-related in August, and 14 of 50 were speed-related in September, said Maj Yan Naung Win.
“In monsoon season, cars always skid or collide with motorcycles and cattle,” he said.
Traffic accidents have been a major issue countrywide, as vehicle usage skyrockets while enforcement, driver training and road infrastructure lags far behind.
– Translation by Zar Zar Soe
Buses and trucks on the Yangon-Mandalay highway are now required to have a Telematics system.