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

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.

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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 (police.lk 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)
 

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