15 people killed on Yangon-Mandalay highway in October

Yangon-Mandalay Highway. Photo: Wikimedia Commons / Moehan

Fifteen people were killed and 134 were injured in a total of 65 traffic accidents on the Yangon-Mandalay highway in October. The highway has claimed hundreds of lives since it opened in 2009, earning it the nickname “death highway.”

From January to October this year, 465 traffic accidents were reported on the highway, resulting in 99 deaths and 742 injuries.

In 2016, there were 744 traffic accidents on the highway, resulting in 167 deaths and 1,307 injuries, according to police figures.

Highway traffic police have blamed the high frequency of deadly accidents on human error, such as speeding, falling asleep at the wheel, and reacting the wrong way to a punctured tire.

However, others say the danger is built into the highway’s design. For example, the mostly two-lane highway includes short sections of a third lane, which end abruptly and lead to concrete barriers. It is unclear why the partial lanes were built.

Researchers at Yangon Technological University and the Yangon Institute of Technology have also found that 21 of the highway’s 27 curves are poorly designed, requiring drivers to slow down to navigate them safely.

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