- By Than Phyo Naing (Kanyinkyo)
Over recent years, there has been an increase in the number of deaths related to traffic accidents in Myanmar. I have read in the papers that traffic accidents which occurred on June 4 and 5 had claimed 15 lives. Thus we can assume that the increasing number of deaths from road accidents in Myanmar can be attributed to reckless driving and disobeying traffic rules.
As for Road Transport Administration Department, efforts have been made to get easy access to transportation flow with the aim of linking with other countries, because the road network is vital to our economy. Many roads have been upgraded into tar roads and many traffic signs or road signs have been erected on roadsides across the country.
In order to reduce causalities and to become more aware of the traffic rules and regulations, many traffic signboards have been installed across the country. The signboards are also aimed at encouraging the people to obey the traffic rules and regulations and to indicate the drivers do’s and don’ts while driving.
Causes of road accidents
Many drivers show an utter disregard for road rules, speeding and wearing seatbelts. As a result, road safety is now a major public health issue. It is found that drivers often lose attention on the expressways. Other factors for its notoriety include poor maintenance, unsafe overtaking, lack of driving experience and zebra crossings. Zebra crossing means that pedestrians have to cross the road by their instinct.
As for the ministry concerned, efforts have been made to upgrade the infrastructure and build crossing bridges across the towns and cities. Most accidents were caused by human negligence and heedlessness, that’s why it is of great importance to educate the public, including drivers and pedestrians alike.
Some of the most common reasons for road accidents are caused by reckless driving, drunken driving, over speeding, falling asleep while driving, disregard for traffic signs, car signal lights on the part of the pedestrians, and reluctance to use overhead pedestrian passes and reluctance to use the zebra-crossings. As for the drivers, they should monitor basic steps toward improving road safety such as the use of seat belts, abstaining from use of mobile phones and driving more slowly and carefully.
The aim and objective of the law is to regulate motor vehicle related issues and make the roads more convenient for people. Myanmar is experiencing rapid motorization, which is associated with the growing economy and population. The tasks of implementation of road safety are of vital importance for the nation, being the tasks to be carried out specifically for safety of people’s lives.
Precautionary measures for traffic accidents
In building new roads, special care is needed to be taken for road safety and it also needs to abide by road designs and standards. In repairing roads as well, responsible departments and organizations are needed to take care of security matters. Road signs and installation of signal lights are required to follow existing rules and laws. Deep-rooted and wrong road habits on expressways for vehicles to overpass preceding ones need to be corrected to rightfulness. In upgrading the reduction of road accidents, establishment of an organization for raising funds for road safety needs to be carried out. In schools, lessons on road safety should be started to be included in the syllabus. Common sense should be indoctrinated at a young age that road safety knowledge is needed for all of us. Provided that every individual keeps road safety disciplines, roads and vehicles are in better conditions, accidents will surely decrease.
The Ministry of Transport and Communication has formulated future processes for success. Programs have been drawn up and implemented to reduce road accidents and fatalities. Cooperation is essential to achieve road safety for the public.
We should be aware that threats to road safety are huge and increasing, and the world is putting great emphasis on road safety to contain these threats. For the success of these processes, there is a need to train and educate road users, to enact vehicle and traffic rules. There also is a need to inspect the vehicle usage, maintenance and installation of safety measures while proper design of roads, laying roads up to standard and regular road maintenance are required to be done without fail.
Among Southeast Asian nations, Myanmar ranks second out of 11 countries in road traffic deaths, with 20.3 deaths per 100,000 people. This amounts to more than 10,000 deaths in 2015 due to road accidents, according to a World Health Organization report from 2015.
The increasing burden of road traffic collisions and related fatalities has become a serious public health threat in Myanmar, which must be addressed through effective preventive and corrective measures, using a multi-sector approach.
For this reason, the Ministry of Health and Sports and WHO have initiated a multi-sectoral project on road safety in collaboration with the University of Public Health of Yangon, the Road Transport Administration Department under the Ministry of Transportation, the Expressway Maintenance Unit of the Ministry of Construction and the Traffic and Highway Police departments, as well as additional public and private partners.
The project aims to assess the road safety situation of the busiest expressway in the country – the Yangon-Mandalay Highway – in order to identify gaps and facilitate necessary corrective actions, in accordance with the policy recommendations of the UN Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.
Main causes of crashes have been identified as over-speeding, tire bursting, reckless driving habits that do not respect the rules of the road and inadequate road conditions. To address this growing problem, a series of measures are being planned for implementation by the respective sectors.
Translated by Win Ko Ko Aung