Drivers and passengers enjoyed considerably smoother commutes this Tsagaan Sar, as more than 900 cadets from the Police Academy and Traffic Police officers regulated Ulaanbaatar’s roads during the holidays.
The Traffic Police officers and cadets directed traffic at nearly every intersection prone to heavy traffic with a heightened level of readiness at the expense of missing traditional Lunar New Year’s greetings with their families, a respected tradition of Tsagaan Sar.
“I haven’t been able to greet my parents on the first day of Tsagaan Sar for the past 18 years. I’d like to send my greetings from this road. I will look forward to seeing you in two days,” Senior Officer M.Narmandakh said on February 27, as he stood on duty.
It’s a Mongolian tradition to give New Year’s greetings to one’s parent on the first day of Tsagaan Sar, to show respect and wish them a good year ahead. M.Narmandakh’s sentiments underscore the occupational sacrifices Traffic Police officers make to fulfill their duties.
In addition to effective regulation by cadets, restrictions on driving in bus lanes were lifted on February 27 and 28. This significantly reduced traffic congestion, said one Traffic Police officer.
Weather and traffic reports were issued every 15 to 20 minutes on 96.3 FM, www.traffic.police.gov.mn, and the Ulaanbaatar Traffic Police Department’s Facebook page.
On the second day of Tsagaan Sar, the number of collisions caused by speeding and fines issued for driving in opposing lanes and not wearing a seatbelt increased as traffic heading to the outskirts of the city and the countryside escalated dramatically. On the third day of Tsagaan Sar, traffic flowing into Ulaanbaatar increased, reported the Traffic Police.
According to the Ulaanbaatar Traffic Police Department, there were several collisions which resulted in death and injury during the holidays. Two children died in a collision caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol on the eve of Tsagaan Sar, February 26. Reports show that nine children, including a five-month-old baby, were injured in a traffic accident during Tsagaan Sar as a result of failing to wear seatbelts and not being safely restrained in car seats.
The General Police Department received 1,144 reports of traffic incidents from February 27 to March 1, 910 of which were related to collisions in the capital that killed 14 people and injured 48 others. Collisions recorded outside of Ulaanbaatar killed 13 people and injured 10 people. According to statistics, compared to Tsagaan Sar 2016, the number of reports fell by 46.9 percent, the number of accidents fell by 31.3 percent, and the number of casualties decreased by nearly three-fold.