Unheard Killer

Chandi Dharmaratne

June 16, 2010 (AFP) – At least 15 people using their mobile telephones while walking on railway tracks have been killed by trains in Sri Lanka this year, a railways official said Wednesday. There are about 14 million mobile phone users in Sri Lanka, which has a population of 20 million people. Accidents have increased as mobile phones become more popular, railways general manager Wijeya Samarasinghe said.

“In the past six months, there have been the deaths of 15 pedestrians who did not hear the train coming because they were preoccupied on their mobile phones,” Samarasinghe told AFP.

He said among those killed was a teacher who was knocked down on Tuesday while he was on the telephone with his daughter studying abroad.

During 2009 there were only five fatalities involving mobile phone users, Samarasinghe said.