Saturday August 24, 2019

Sri Lanka's traffic chief wakes up to fatalities with a howler

By Our Police Correspondent

Sep 27, 2015 21:02 PM GMT+0530 | 3 Comment(s)

ECONOMYNEXT - Sri Lanka's motor traffic chief has taken the unusual step of placing a 72-square centimeter advertisement in a Sunday newspaper requesting motorists to "fulfill the shortcomings" in their vehicles.

The barely visible notice written in incomprehensible language may be an attempt to address the growing number of fatal accidents on Sri Lankan roads which have become South Asia's most dangerous.

"It is kindly requested to fulfil the shortcomings of your vehicle or the vehicle being driven by you so as to get rid of the inconvenience that may be caused," (sic) said the statement.

For good measure, there is a suggestion that the commissioner has an "excellent intention of making the road a safe place."

"The Motor Traffic Department, in collaboration with Sri Lanka Police, is expected to launch a continuous day and night programme in order to detect unsuitable vehicles that are being driven in roads with the excellent intention of making the road a safe place." (sic)

There is also a mention that tyres of a vehicle "should comply with the friction of the tar surface." Motorists could be forgiven if they had to comply with the Motor Traffic Act, but now there is this added friction of tar to worry about.

The most recent accidents  have underscored the danger to all motorist because the Commissioner General of Motor Traffic has allowed wholly unsafe and dangerous three-wheel contraptions on Sri Lankan roads.

Five people, including four from one family, were killed when a bus collided with a Bajaj trishaw  at the Koskandawala Junction in Athurugiriya on September 25, 2015.

Bajaj as well as other three-wheelers claim a daily toll on Sri Lankan roads. The Commissioner has strict controls when registering cars imported from Europe, Japan and Korea, but three wheelers are allowed with no such restriction.

The sharp edges of a three wheeler (highlighted in a picture essay of EconomyNext) are enough to cause serious injury to pedestrian even in the event of a minor collision, but the Commissioner has allowed those vehicles on the road.

According to the latest police statistics ( 2010) some 2,721 people were killed in road accidents in 2010 and 26,847 were injured. More recent statistics are not available, but judging by media reports, about 10 people are killed on Sri Lankan roads daily. (Colombo/Sept27/2015)



  1. Trevor October 01, 02:36 AM

    It is disappointing to see no participation of our fellow countrymen and women in a debate like this which is of national interest.

  2. Trevor September 29, 04:22 AM

    Condition of vehicles is not the only and main cause for most accidents. It is mainly due to lack of respect for the traffic rules.To start with the private bus drivers break all rules as they are in a race to pick the most number of passengers. The manner of stopping at a bus stop creates traffic jams. Bigger vehicles drive on the faster lanes blocking the lighter vehicles. The list goes on.It is also high time the government started building overhead walk ways in place of pedestrian crossings on roads such as High level road, Galle road, Negombo road etc etc,Vehicles belonging to authorities such as Police and the three forces plus the back up vehicles of VIPs should be regulated just as in the developed countries.

  3. sacre-blieu September 28, 07:45 AM

    Three wheelers are the poor mans taxi,and sadly has become a death trap on the road. The restricted turning circle has been altered by all, including the importers and owners. This is seen by the reckless driving by them in creeping and swerving in and out of traffic followed, in most instances, by their hostile response. Licenses are , not surprisingly, given on bribes. The involvement of politics is also responsible. Remember they were entertained by President Rajapakse at Temple Trees for a dansal and propaganda .This had invariably given them the idea that ,as was usual, the law was on their side. Even the association of payment hawkers were used for the same reason.

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