116 Casualties on ‘Death Highway’ Last Year

By Moe Moe 3 January 2018

NAYPYITAW — There were 116 casualties on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway in 2017, according to the highway traffic police force.

There were a total of 555 road accidents in which 116 people were killed and 863 were injured. Private cars were responsible for most of the traffic accidents, according to traffic police.

The number of road accidents and casualties, however, has declined compared to 2016, which saw 774 road accidents with 170 fatalities and 1,304 people injured.

“The main cause of road accidents is speeding,” said police officer Soe Win of the highway police force.

As of June 1 last year, traffic police have required drivers and passengers of either private vehicles or express buses to wear seat belts while driving on the highway.

More than 20,000 vehicles use the some 400-mile highway daily and there are around seven road accidents a day, said the highway traffic police force.

The highway, which connects commercial hub Yangon, administrative capital Naypyitaw and the second largest city Mandalay, came into service in 2009 and is dubbed by local road users as the ‘death highway’ due to high number of accidents.

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has offered to provide a loan of more than $100 million to upgrade the highway, Deputy Minister for Construction U Kyaw Lin told reporters in November.

If the government approves the proposal, it will upgrade 40 miles of the highway by 2020 as a pilot project, he said.