Fa­tal road accidents on the rise

The Myanmar Times - - News - AYE NYEIN WIN ayenyein­win@mm­times.com

DE­SPITE a pledge to re­duce road deaths by half, the num­ber of ca­su­al­ties has con­tin­ued to in­crease in the first eight months of this year. Nearly 3500 peo­ple have died on Myan­mar’s roads from the start of the year un­til Septem­ber 30, po­lice of­fi­cials an­nounced at a con­fer­ence held this week in Nay Pyi Taw.

“From Jan­uary 1 to Septem­ber 30, 2016, 11,970 accidents have been recorded lead­ing to 19,095 in­juries and 3480 deaths,” said Colonel Kyaw Htwe from the Myan­mar Po­lice Force in Nay Pyi Taw.

“On av­er­age, each day there are 43.85 accidents, 69.95 peo­ple in­jured and 12.75 deaths,” he added.

Last year, an av­er­age of 11.6 peo­ple were killed in au­to­mo­bile accidents each day. The ca­su­al­ties have climbed an­nu­ally: In 2003, an av­er­age of 2.3 peo­ple were killed daily.

Based on cur­rent fig­ures, the num­ber of accidents, in­juries and deaths on the coun­try’s roads is slated to again sur­pass last year’s to­tals.

“Like in other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, in Myan­mar as more cars come on the roads there is an in­crease in accidents. That’s why we need to pay at­ten­tion and work to­gether to fight against road accidents like other ASEAN coun­tries have done,” said U Zaw Min Oo, di­rec­tor gen­eral of the Road Trans­port Ad­min­is­tra­tion Depart­ment (RATD).

With al­most 13 peo­ple dy­ing as a re­sult of traf­fic accidents each day, Myan­mar’s roads are among the most dan­ger­ous in South­east Asia.

The Oc­to­ber 28 Pol­icy De­vel­op­ment Con­fer­ence on Road Safety was or­gan­ised jointly by Heineken sub­sidiary APB Al­liance Brew­ery, the RATD, and the Min­istry of Trans­porta­tion and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion.

The event was at­tended by rep­re­sen­ta­tives from var­i­ous min­istries, po­lice de­part­ments, pri­vate sec­tor com­pa­nies, CSOs and MPs.

In a bid to curb the in­creas­ing num­ber of deaths and in­juries on the coun­try’s roads, Min­is­ter for Trans­port and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion U Thant Sin Maung an­nounced at the con­fer­ence that from Novem­ber 1, cars with­out proper seat­belts would not be reg­is­tered or re-reg­is­tered.

Deputy di­rec­tor Daw Pa Pa Lin of the RATD said her or­gan­i­sa­tion would work on up­dat­ing cur­rent reg­u­la­tions con­cern­ing seat­belts and baby seats in the near fu­ture.

For their part, the third co-host of the event, APB Al­liance Brew­ery, said that they would con­tinue to ed­u­cate the pub­lic on road safety through the edu­tain­ment cam­paign they have been run­ning since 2014.

“We ex­pect our cam­paign to reach more than 15 mil­lion peo­ple through all pos­si­ble chan­nels to gain aware­ness for road safety and live sav­ing rules. We have also cre­ated the Shwe Lann game app where the peo­ple can down­load and post car­toons. We will be able to re­duce 50 per­cent of the road accidents by 2020,” said Zita Schellekens, di­rec­tor of cor­po­rate re­la­tions for APB Al­liance.

For­mer MP Daw Nyo Nyo Thin lauded the hosts for their col­lab­o­ra­tive ap­proach to the prob­lem but called for greater pub­lic in­put.

“Col­lab­o­ra­tive ac­tions are very im­por­tant but in or­der to have true col­lab­o­ra­tion, we need to hear from the pub­lic. We should only im­ple­ment poli­cies that the pub­lic have co­op­er­ated on,” she said.

Photo: Staff

In the first eight months of this year, 12.75 peo­ple died on av­er­age each day in road accidents.

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