“Nobody gives way to anybody. Everyone just angles, points, dives directly toward his destination, pretending it is an all-or-nothing gamble. People glare at one another and fight for maneuvering space. All parties are equally determined to get the right-of-way–insist on it. They swerve away at the last possible moment, giving scant inches to spare. The victor goes forwards, no time for a victory grin, already engaging in another contest of will. “ – Andrew Pham
Although the above is a quote describing the traffic in Vietnam, it isn’t far off in describing the traffic experience in Sri Lanka. The traffic rage and traffic violation in Sri Lanka is not the worst in the South Asia region, but it has always been bad. Lately, pretty bad. Traffic lights and traffic signals are not considered as rules, and are followed if convenient . Road lanes are ignored, right of way is ignored and form of courtesy is thrown out the window. These are confirmed by the fact that there have been over 35,000 reported accidents for 2014 with over 2000 fatalities in road accidents.
Now it seems the community has had enough. They are taking on the issue through social media in the form of the Sri Lankan Traffic Violations facebook page. In this page, people submit their daily experiences of traffic violations in Sri Lanka through photos and videos while highlighting the vehicle number as well. This would help in a couple of ways. One, the perpetrator may see his violation online, and would deter from repeating due to public shaming. Secondly other people on page would be extra careful not to do any traffic violations, as they have a sense of responsibility to be better drivers being a part of this community. In addition the page posts educational images on traffic rules and regulation.
The page already has over 11,000 people following it, and is steadily growing. We really hope that this would be a major force in future in curbing the traffic violations in Sri Lanka. This alone would be far from enough, and the police need to really step it up to keep all drivers on the road aligned to the rules. Kudos to the admins for starting and managing this page, and hoping it would have an everlasting impact on the Sri Lanka drivers.
Cover image credits to infolanka.com