Road Fatalities in Burma Continue to Rise

By Tin Htet Paing 8 January 2016

RANGOON — Traffic accident fatalities in Burma continued to climb last year, with the latest data placing the figure at more than 4,000 deaths in 2015.

Official traffic police statistics indicate that of the country’s 4,233 traffic fatalities in 2015, Mandalay Division topped the list with 609 deaths, followed by Rangoon with 574. The former capital, which has some 500,000 registered vehicles, saw 15,046 road accidents last year, the most in the country.

Burma’s state-run newspapers reported Thursday that the figure for traffic fatalities last year had doubled from the number recorded in 2011, though the increase was marginal compared with 2014, when Burma recorded 4,163 traffic fatalities.

“Despite Progress, Road Deaths Remain Too High,” the press release to a World Health Organization (WHO) report declared in October of last year, adding that traffic accidents claimed an estimated 1.2 million lives each year across the globe.

“Road traffic fatalities take an unacceptable toll—particularly on poor people in poor countries,” the WHO director-general said in the report.

Neighboring Thailand ranked second in the world for road fatalities, with an average of 80 lives lost per day in 2014. The Thai government recently said that 380 people died during Thailand’s so-called “Seven Dangerous Days,” referring to the Buddhist New Year’s holiday, known for fueling drunken and reckless driving.

Nearly 3,000 police are on duty to enforce traffic safety nationwide, Burmese state media reported this week.