Sri Lanka road crash study highlights need for tougher enforcement

ECONOMYNEXT – A study of road crashes on two Sri Lankan highways has called for tougher enforcement of the law since drivers without licences, riders without helmets and head-on collisions were involved in many of the fatalities. 

Three-quarters of the victims were less than 50 years of age, and among them 25% were younger than 27 years, according to the study presented at ‘R4TLI-2017’ or Research for Transport & Logistics Industry conference.

The study on two major intercity highways in Sri Lanka – A001 from Peliyagoda to Ambepussa and A004 from Vilasitha Niwasa to Avissawella, found that 77.4% of the total crashes resulting in death or major injuries occurred on stretches of road more than 10 metres away from an intersection.

About 12% of the crashes were at four-way intersections, and 4.7% at three-way intersections, according to the study by A P Senasinghe, S C Wirasinghe and A G De Barros of the University of Calgary, Canada.

The study, presented by De Barros at the forum held by the Sri Lanka Society for Transport and Logistics (SLSTL) to promote research and development in the transport and logistics sector, revealed that 75% of fatal accidents occurred during off-peak traffic hours.

About 20% of drivers who suffered fatal accidents did not have a valid driver’s license.

“That shows the importance of enforcement,” De Barros said.

On both highways, motorbikes were the leading vehicle type involved in fatal or grievous accidents, accounting for around 25% of the total in each highway and followed by dual purpose vehicles (15 %), three-wheelers (14 %), cars (13 %) and buses (13%).

“Those without helmets or not wearing seat belts were four times more likely to be involved in fatal crashes,” said de Barros. “You’re are more likely to die if you’re not wearing a seat belt or helmet. So there’s a strong case here for protection.”

The study also said 70% of the fatalities were due to head-on collisions and pedestrian accidents.





It also revealed that fatal crashes on both highways were 30% less likely in urban areas.

“It suggests that driving in an urban area along these highways reduces the probability of fatal and grievous injury crashes, compared with non-grievous crashes,” the study said.

“In contrast, driving without safety precautions (seat belts) indicates a higher propensity for involvement in a fatal crash compared to non-grievous injury crashes.”

The crash-frequency model results of both highways suggested a strong relationship between traffic volume and the number of lanes with accident rates.

“Accident rates tended to increase significantly as traffic volume and the number of lanes increased.”
(COLOMBO, July 28, 2017)

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