Posted on July 6th, 2020

Sunil Yatalamatta Gamage 

Driving is not a right, it is only a privilege when the driving privilege has been abused that is about the violation of road discipline compromising of people safety, that needs to be dealt with heavy penalties by suspending the driving license.

We loose huge human capital daily due to road accidents and road safety issues in Sri Lanka. Statistics have publicly revealed 12,000 deaths occur each year in the country. It is indeed a national crisis to find solutions immediately. For many institutions, police, and road & highways a death of a person is just news. It shouldn’t be that way. Sri Lankan roads are not built with essential road safety features or roads are lacking essential safety protocols. The licensing method did not build to ensure safe driving principles. If a person unfit to turn wheels, but still driving the person has to face the consequences of impaired driving and breaking rules, killing innocent pedestrians. People do such impaired driving and killing people must be punished without considering their status. He or she must have been handcuffed until further notice by the law. In the modern world, road safety features are more prominent, and without those features, roads cannot be built with public money. In developed countries accidents of this nature not occurs, which is common in Sri Lanka. They ensure road safety with many features and educate the public in multiple ways of road signs to minimize road accidents in that way. Ministry of road and highways must start a public safety program through media to educate the public. It is a social responsibility as well to obey the rules as well. In the bigger picture, it is a collaborative task through public awareness. Driving is a privilege it is not a right. If reckless driving caught or resulted in a collision, the driver’s license must be suspended with a jail term by law. The time is quite right to examine road accidents & find out solutions to road safety. A national program of licensing and introduction of the demerit point system and monthly insurance system for drivers would be one of the solutions. This is the only way to ensure much-needed road safety for the public.

Driving is a privilege, not a right. We wish to own a car to make our life easier. The family daily needs to buy groceries, to go to a short distance with family or alone uses a vehicle. Life will become much convenient and efficient when anybody owns a car. Anybody will make use of the time efficiently when owns a car. Owning a car or vehicle is a big decision. Persons need to allocate some money from their monthly budget. It is important to change and introduce a whole lot of new codes and conducting rules in many areas of driving around. If we are unable to introduce new laws related to driving need to study how other countries succeeded in reducing road accidents and road safety for the public. The laws need to set up around people, driving records, road safety features, introducing of new developed commuting ways, and security.

When authorities built a new road to a community people not aware or they don’t talk about the features need to have on that road to ensure public safety. Politicians talk about how much money will spend on the road and probably how much of a commission could be earned from it. Even the contractors will not build it completely as they want to make money out of that road. This is really what happens in our country. These are the features of corrupt practice had been momentarily taking place in our country. There is none to take the responsibility of building a low-quality road in the country. I believe most of the interior roads and their maintenance belong to provincial councils. Those provincial councils have been taking ownership of these by roads to do a better public service. So the question is do they do it. We are again going back to square one by decentralizing one whole unit of responsibility and nobody is going to do the job.

When I was a child we had been educated at school about road safety. A civil police officer addressed road safety and how we need to walk and which side of the road need to walk on the road. Which was an excellent program? That is why I still remember the road safety program features. But now the road vehicles have been increased by almost 300%, roads have been built as well but not to as much. The question is have the authorities introduced enough road safety laws and measures?  Do we have methods, policy, planning, and implementation ministry or authority? Usually, when a country holds this type of authority or ministry of infrastructure development they do planing for 10 years from now. They will introduce their research results to governments as the next 10 years forecast of data analysis on the development of roads, which has to happen according to those data. Good governing leaders rely on these data and plan the development of roads accordingly. When economic development continues we need the government to be very careful as the present-day development has to go hand in glove with ecological sustainability. If any development results to buy oxygen bags to walk and live in the metro Colombo metro; that development is no use. Policy planning and development have ignored the ecological sustainability.

When this much of road accidents happen in the country authorities need to pay attention to control and introduce new measures. One of the key aspects of such a control system would be of introducing a database of drivers and maintaining a record database of each driver. Yearly driving speeding ticketing documentation and monthly insurance system need to be maintained. It will be a driving history and an online record of driving details. This is the only way to reduce road accidents. This has introduced in developed countries. Initially, it might cost money to be introducing a database of island-wide drivers. It is because such a database need to be installed to traffic police vehicles while they are in patrol on roads. But it may bring enormous good results as it continuing. Drivers will be compelled more cautious of maintaining a good driving history to reduce insurance premiums. At the same time, law and order will have the opportunity of identifying and separating bad drivers from the street and fined them. This is the only way to reduce road accidents and maintain the safety of pedestrians, good drivers, and road safety in the modern world. Drink and driving must be identified and removed from the road.


  1. Nimal Says:

    Ever since the last colonials left our people lost the true Buddhist values that was inculcated by them like tolerance that was in abundance but now an average person in the island has turned out to be selfish in addition to other negative qualities they have aquired. One can see in their daily lives and I get reminded daily in London where one of my business have some of our people employed, who are the worse I have, compared to non Sri lankans.
    With a such an awful culture we have to live with it is no surprise that drive selfishly, with no regard to any road users thus not only putting ones life in danger but that of other road users.
    Our lazy buggers are so impatient they just can’t stop using the horn,alaways in a hurry but if one give a job to do will not do quickly or fast.
    This very much evident in backward third world which sl is a part of it.This dirty habit of using the horn very frequently, overtaking from the wrong side is done since lately in UK,mainly by the new comers to the country. We never heard any use of horn in 60 s to 20010 until foreigners started driving and using the horn. But South of EU seems to use the horn and recklessly drive in their countries because they have far less brain cells,reason why they are cleaning our toilets.

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