Willingness to change matters most

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At least 1.25 million people around the world lose their lives annually in avoidable traffic accidents with more than 50 million people injured. More than 90 per cent of the dead and the injured are found to be from the developing countries. As Myanmar is one among these nations, Myanmar is not spared with 4,420 people losing their lives in 15,406 cases of traffic accidents in 2015 which is 3.45 times the mortality rate when compared to 2005.
Such being the case, a national council to ensure road safety has already been formed to reduce the cases of outbreak of traffic accidents by half in a four-year time. According to the traffic experts, the root causes of road accidents are: personal fault; mechanical fault; road fault; and bad weather conditions. Amidst these four principal causes, personal fault is chiefly attributed to the outbreak of road accidents. One can, therefore, jump to the conclusion that traffic accidents are mainly caused by the drivers as well as pedestrians who fail to strictly abide by the traffic rules and road discipline.
This is indicating that it is of utmost importance to enforce the traffic rules and road discipline on the part of authorities. In this regard, deterrent punishment is recommended. The longer term imprisonment and heavier fines would help a lot. Nevertheless, meting out punishment should accompany awareness promotion. Awareness of the danger of reckless driving, drunk driving, not wearing helmets and seat belts, not crossing the roads at zebra crossings and jumping the red light etc should be given for a period.
In this juncture, it is worth recalling that the mindset matters most. Unless the users of the road can drop their old habits of not sticking to the laws, rules and regulations, the accidents will continue to happen. A strong case of law-abiding citizens is Switzerland where people are perfectly obedient to the traffic rules and road discipline; no driver is seen to get through the painted roundabouts with no brick walling installed; no pedestrian is beheld to jump the red; all cars are witnessed to stop for the pedestrians to cross the road at the zebra crossings (white striped crossings). As Switzerland is a developed, democratic nation, the people of Myanmar ought to follow their footsteps at least in abiding of the traffic rules if they really want to reduce the mortality rate and the number of outbreak of accidents which are avoidable. Let’s not forget that what matters is not the road-dividing barriers or brick-walled roundabouts or any barriers placed on the road to prevent the outbreak of the accidents. It is in fact the willingness to abide by the traffic rules and road discipline that can reduce road accidents.

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