The Irrawaddy

50 Dead in Accidents on Yangon-Mandalay Hwy in First Half of 2018

NAYPYITAW — Fifty people died and 490 were injured in traffic accidents on the Yangon-Mandalay Highway from January through June, according to highway traffic police.

There were a total of 232 road accidents in the first half of 2018, and as in previous years most involved private cars, traffic police said.

Last year, the highway saw a total of 555 road accidents in which 116 people were killed and 863 were injured, a decline from 2016, which saw 774 road accidents in which 170 died and 1,304 were injured.

“Speeding remains the main cause of road accidents,” officer Soe Win of the highway traffic police told The Irrawaddy.

As of June 1, 2017, drivers and passengers traveling the highway in either private vehicles or express buses must wear seat belts.

More than 20,000 vehicles ply the roughly 644-km highway daily and there are about seven road accidents a day, said the highway traffic police.

The highway connects the country’s commercial hub, Yangon, with its administrative capital, Naypyitaw, and second-largest city, Mandalay. It came into service in 2009 and has been dubbed the “death highway” due to the high number of accidents.

In November, Deputy Construction Minister U Kyaw Lin told reporters that the Asian Development Bank had offered to provide a loan of more than $100 million to upgrade the route.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.