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August 13, 2020

Roads are as dangerous as ever

Deadly motorcycle crashes are increasing at an alarming rate in Myanmar, prompting the lawmakers of the Pyithu Hluttaw to discuss the issue. In the discussion, MPs will urge the Union Government to enforce stricter traffic rules enforcement with punishment on violators and will touch upon what precautions should be taken in the future to prevent the road accidents. According to the World Health Organization, about 65 per cent of deaths from the road accidents in Myanmar come from motorcycle crashes that occurred nationwide while the nationwide motorcycle accidents accounted for 49 per cent of the total mishaps in 2018, and claimed 2,376 lives and left 12,985 injured. With the growing numbers of motorcycles and tricycles, which are the main mode of transportation especially in outskirts of towns and in rural areas, the roads are as dangerous as ever.
Though the government has banned the unauthorized installation of sidecars on motorcycles, the proliferation of tricycles plying the roads is continuing. Meanwhile, in some areas, motorcycles are also plying on the busy roads, but some road users are not wearing helmets. This situation has shown the lack of traffic enforcement which can lead to unnecessary injury or even death. The issue of motorcycle safety is becoming important as it hits close to home.
Authorities are obliged to try to determine what is at the root of all road accidents and work together with all stakeholders to impose suitable punishment on those who do not obey the law and the traffic rules. Reckless driving, under the influence of alcohol, over-speeding, defective vehicles, and inclement weather are being blamed for most traffic accidents. We must perform checks not just at central terminals, but also in the smaller terminals. Awareness campaigns need to be conducted with greater momentum and swift action needs to be taken against those who fail to comply with the rules and standards. We must not to lose sight of the goal to reduce the death toll in traffic accidents by 50 per cent in 2020 from the toll recorded in the base year of 2013.

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