A recent RTI application to Traffic Police Headquarters revealed some interesting, although serious, statistics about road accidents around the island. Statistics were requested on road accidents in Sri Lanka for the first half of this year involving a variety of vehicles. Additionally, information was also requested pertaining to district-wise data of all road accidents that took place in Sri Lanka during this time period.
The reply from the Traffic Police consisted of diverse data encompassing the cause of accidents, the seriousness of accidents, deaths, vehicle-wise incidents, day-wise and time-wise details, location-wise accidents and even age-related data.
From January to June of 2020, the vehicles involved in the largest number of accidents in the country have been motorcycles; this comes to 3806 accidents. This is followed by three wheelers at 1777 and cars at 1568 accidents. Data was specifically asked for SLTB and private buses, and this was also provided. Private buses had been in 544 accidents while SLTB buses had been 190. Even larger vehicles like lorries, which had been involved in 1156 road accidents, were also considered.
These numbers can be compared to the numbers for the entirety of the year 2019. For instance in January to December of 2019, there were 4602 motorcycle accidents recorded in Sri Lanka; hence the projected value for motorcycle accidents for the entire year 2020 is significantly higher than the total number of accidents that occurred in 2019. It should also be noted that in both these years, not just the highest number of accidents but also the highest number of fatal accidents involved motorbikes.
When going into location-wise statistics, it is unsurprising that the highest number of road accidents in the first half of 2020, numbering 947, took place in Colombo. Adjacent to Colombo City, the Nugegoda suburb comes in second with 890 accidents having taken place during this time period. Kandy and Kelaniya also had some of the highest numbers of accidents, numbering 522 and 517 respectively. The least amount of accidents was recorded in Mannar, and this stood at 34.
In the Northern Province, the most accidents (145) had taken place in Jaffna while in the Southern Province it was in Matara (369).
An interesting set of information provided by the Traffic Police was with regard to the cause or circumstance of the accidents during the first half of 2020. As many as 1160 accidents had occurred while the vehicle was turning and 1031 had occurred when overtaking other vehicles. Significantly, 89 fatal accidents had taken place due to ‘speed driving’.
Additionally, when considering the different scales of all the accidents that took place during this time, there were 962 fatal accidents, 2939 serious injuries in road accidents, 4172 minor injuries in road accidents and 2819 damage accidents.