Seven to eight deaths every day due to road accidents

  • Police urge better road safety

By Dinitha Rathnayake

The general public should be more alert about their safety at a time where seven to eight people die each day as a result of road traffic accidents in Sri Lanka, according to Police Media Spokesperson Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Nihal Thalduwa.

Speaking to The Morning, he said 10 deaths were reported on 6 November due to accidents, which is not a good sign in a country like Sri Lanka.

“Police conduct awareness programmes for the public and the Traffic Police always advise prevention when it comes to road accidents, but it is not in the hands of the Police. We can only advise; it’s the general public on the roads who have to take preventive measures.”

According to Sri Lanka Police statistics, approximately 3,000 deaths per year are reported due to road accidents.

The latest fatal accident was reported in the Mahabage area in Welisara, where a 16-year-old student and his father were arrested in connection with the incident. The Wattala Magistrate’s Court has remanded both suspects until 19 November.

The incident in question, which occurred on 4 November, caused the death of one person and the injury of three others, when a luxury car driven by the 16-year-old teenager veered off the road and collided with a car, a three-wheeler, and two motorcycles coming from the opposite direction.

National Hospital of Sri Lanka Neuro Trauma Unit Consultant Neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjeewa Garusinghe stated: “Road accidents are one of the leading causes of death in young people. Most of the time, patients have suffered head and spine injuries, and about 40% of the deaths caused by road traffic accidents are due to direct injuries to a victim’s head or spine. The rest of the injuries vary. Most of these injuries occur due to negligence and not using safety precautions.”

Speaking to The Morning, Commissioner General of Motor Traffic Sumith C.K. Alahakoon noted that the Department of Motor Traffic (DMT), which issues drivers’ licenses, is very strict on the minimum age of issuing licenses, and never approves licences for those under the age of 18.