Ajith Perakum Jayasinghe

YearTotal DeathsFatal AccidentsPedestrian FatalitiesMotorcyclist FatalitiesBus AccidentsContainer Truck Accidents


The silence of island air is often broken by the honking of impatient drivers. 2023 had come and gone, leaving behind a grim statistic: 2,557 lives lost, snuffed out like candles on a birthday cake, each one representing a loved one, a dream unfulfilled, a chair at the dinner table forever empty. These weren’t mere numbers; they were the chilling consequences of Sri Lanka’s worsening road accident epidemic.

Among the fallen were 740 pedestrians, their dreams cut short on poorly marked crossings, the victims of reckless drivers and their own lack of awareness. Motorcyclists, weaving through traffic in a desperate dance with fate, numbered 707, their vulnerability a constant reminder of the need for safety gear and responsible manoeuvres.

But amidst the despair, flickered a glimmer of hope. The lower accident rates involving state-owned buses and container trucks hinted at the power of responsible driving and well-maintained vehicles. These beacons of safety illuminated the path forward, a roadmap to a future where every journey ended not in tragedy, but in the warmth of reaching loved ones.

The journey towards road safety must begin with education. Catchy jingles about road safety, billboards displaying graphic reminders of accidents, and community workshops empowering pedestrians and drivers alike may be highly helpful. It isn’t just about knowing the rules; it is about internalizing the value of a human life, one’s own and others’.

Culture, however, can’t be changed overnight. Impatience must give way to respect. Sri Lanka yearns for courteous drivers who prioritise safety over speed. Professional drivers, who are currently seen as harbingers of danger, can become ambassadors of change, since they hold the weight of lives in their hands.

Justice, too, must play its part. Traffic violations must be met with swift and stern consequences, serving as a deterrent against risky behaviour. Pedestrians who disregard crossings must not be ignored, for their safety matters too. The message must be clear: negligence has a price, and responsibility is a collective duty.

The roads themselves must transform. Traffic lights must blink vigilantly, guiding the flow of vehicles. Pedestrian crossings must be sanctuaries, not death traps. Pavements, currently neglected, must be resurfaced, offering safe passage for vulnerable feet.

Speeding demons must be tamed by stricter laws and vigilant enforcement. Drunk driving must be met with zero tolerance. The message should be loud and clear: the thrill of speed is no match for the sanctity of life.

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