Written by Staff Writer
18 Apr, 2019 | 8:53 pm
Colombo (News 1st): At least one person is killed every three hours in road accidents on average in Sri Lanka.
The final rites were observed today (April 18) for the 10 people who were killed in a head-on collision between a bus and a van in the Mahiyangana town yesterday.
10 people from 3 families lost their lives in the accident and their remains were returned to their families this morning following the post mortem examinations.
They had left Maamangam in Batticaloa for the excursion on Monday (April 15). The group had picked up another child from the house of a relative in Colombo and travelled to Nuwara Eliya. They faced this tragic accident on their way from Nuwara Eliya to Batticaloa.
The father, mother and a pair of twins aged 4 lost their lives in the accident. Also among the deceased were the father, mother and daughter of another family. The 19-year-old boy who drove the vehicle also died in the accident.
The accident occurred at about 1:30 am last morning (April 17) opposite the Mahiyangana National School. Preliminary investigations have revealed that the van was being driven at excessive speed on the wrong side of the road.
Two girls aged 15 and 13 who sustained serious injuries were admitted to the Mahiyangana base hospital and were later transferred to the Badulla General Hospital where they are currently being treated in the Intensive Care Unit.
Dr Gayan Cooray of the Badulla General Hospital noted that the 15-year-old is currently on life support but her condition is improving. He went onto note that the 13-year-old is in the surgical ICU and has suffered fractures and damage to vital organs. He added that her condition has improved somewhat.
A photograph taken inside the van prior to the accident shows that this girl was wearing her seatbelt when the collision occurred. Experts have consistently highlighted that wearing a seatbelt can greatly reduce bodily harm in the event of a road accident.
Speaking to News 1st Chairman of the National Council on Road Safety Dr Sisira Kodagoda noted,
“A road accident kills at least one person every three hours in our country. This translates to 8 people a day. This figure increases during the holiday season and during festivals. Most accidents are caused by negligent and reckless driving. One factor is excessive speeding and the other is reckless overtaking. Driving under the influence is also a major problem. There are several other factors now. We see many motorists who use their mobile phones without even slowing down let alone parking the vehicle. Many motorists have said that they have fallen asleep at the wheel. But it is clear that we cannot attribute falling asleep at the wheel as the cause of the majority of these accidents. In many developed countries around the world, drivers are given a break after four hours of continuous driving. There is a mandatory rest period. Another problem is that many motorists try to drive as fast as they can at night time and other times when there are minimal traffic and very few pedestrians. When this happens at times they are unable to control the speed and stamping on the brakes in such instances increases the speed at which the vehicle lunges forward.”
The National Transport Commission says the license of the driver of the private bus involved in the collision in Mahiyangana has been suspended and that an investigation is underway.
A statement issued by the Commission notes that the route permit for the bus has also been suspended for one month.
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