Road safety is first during Thadingyut holiday

The five-day Thadingyut holiday began on 11 October with a rush of travelers. Highway bus tickets were sold out even before the holiday started, and Myanma Railways had to run special trains to ease traffic.
Sagaing, Mandalay, Bagan-NyaungU, Taunggyi, Inle, PyinOoLwin, Kyaikhtiyo, Hpa-an, and Mawlamyine have been popular destinations among holidaymakers this season.
On holidays, most vehicles are on the roads, with holidaymakers hastening to their destinations.
As a result, roads, including the new and old Yangon-Mandalay highways, are busy with traffic. In some areas, motorcycles, which account for half the road accidents in Myanmar, are also plying on the roads, but some road users are not wearing helmets.
Reckless driving, under the influence of alcohol, over-speeding, defective vehicles, and inclement weather are being blamed for most traffic accidents. Deaths and casualties from traffic accidents have continued to increase around the world.
At present, there are over 1.9 million vehicles registered across the country, and about half of them are registered in Yangon.
We must make preparations and take measures to reduce road accidents during the five-day holiday. Nationwide, motorcycle accidents accounted for 49 per cent of the total mishaps in 2018, and claimed 2,376 lives and left 12,985 injured.
Use of quality helmets can reduce the risk of death, and awareness about using quality helmets must be raised among the people.
Meanwhile, it has been found that a majority of passengers on highway express buses do not wear seatbelts, while those who want to wear them are unable to do so as most buses do not have fully functioning passenger seatbelts.
Our people, especially road users, should abandon the habit of putting on a seatbelt or wearing a helmet only when traffic rule enforcers carry out a surprise check.
Failure to wear helmets and seatbelts can lead to unnecessary injury or even death.
All stakeholders must work to ensure express buses have proper functioning seatbelts, and exact suitable punishment from those that do not.
We must perform checks not just at central terminals, but also in the smaller terminals. Awareness campaigns needed 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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