Police spokesman Ajith Rohana said that 17 people were killed in separate road accidents over a period of 24 hours between Saturday morning and Sunday morning.
He said this was an increase in the number of road accidents reported in recent times and blamed it on drivers and pedestrians ignoring road rules.
The police also noted that almost all the accidents reported in Sri Lanka over the 24 hour period ending on Sunday morning was outside the capital Colombo.
Rohana said that 15 accidents had occurred during that period and among those killed were two teenagers, aged 16 and 17, when the motorbikes they were riding collided with each other.
Last year the Sri Lankan motor traffic department said that it was to give local police the right to cancel the driving license of reckless drivers.
The Sri Lankan government also made it mandatory for drivers and front seat passengers of motor vehicles to wear seat belts.
Doctors at the state hospital in the city had said that they got some 200 to 300 road accident victims being admitted for treatment every week.