More people die on roads than during war, and probably more people get permanently disabled from road accidents.
There seem to be various factors that result in valuable young human lives being lost on roads, and therefore we need to implement measures to make roads safer for all.
1. The starting point is driver, rider education.
People wear helmets to evade police!
People wear seat belts to evade police!
We need to invest a lot on the driver, rider education to educate them on safety measures. Other countries have TV commercials on such education. Further, although there were a number of expressways opened, I have not seen a comprehensive driver education on how to use them. Why we need to keep a safe distance, why you need to use turn signals when changing lanes etc.
2. The other most important factor is to improve driver, rider moral values.
At the end of the day, we all want to arrive at the destination safely. If you give way, you will be given way. It doesn’t have to be a battle in the roads, honking at even the slightest mistakes. Other countries usually have good gestures to thank helping fellow road users. The attitude of helping others goes a long way than we think. This needs to be implemented through Learners and also public awareness programs. Probably this should be the #1 measure because a lot of things fall in the correct place if we fix this.
3. Driving schools (Learners) should be properly managed, reviewed and evaluated yearly. They should enforce a very strict syllabus which includes moral value educations also. All road accidents should be tracked back to the driving schools, and statistically analyzed to improve/ban failing driving schools.
3. Make roads safer.
We need to have a proper road maintenance unit, which should patrol heavily used roads to check on safety. For example, there are visibility issues at certain road sections and there are accidents daily and nobody does anything. This unit should have a mechanism to lodge complaints and suggestions.
4. Stop importing unsafe vehicles.
There should be a strict standard that does not change from government to government to stop the import of unsafe vehicles. (Probably the most unsafe are the three-wheels, but that is a bigger rooted problem because it is not actually a vehicle, it is a “job” in Sri Lanka. This can only be prevented by improving public transport and the job market for young simultaneously).
5. Make existing vehicles safer.
Almost all tractors have no tail lights, the tippers, and big lorries which stop roadside do not have parking lights, etc. Police should be given enough training to stop and fine these.
6. Greener roads.
I’ve seen that even in countries heavily commercialized like Singapore has a surprisingly large number of trees planted alongside roads. This helps a lot to the nature and helps to reduce driver stress etc.
May all people arrive at their destination safely and comfortably!
~ Gayan Dasanayake