POST TIME: 25 August, 2019 00:00 00 AM
185 travellers killed in road crashes during Eid holidays
Says Nirapad Sarak Chai report

185 travellers killed in road crashes during Eid holidays

A total of 185 people were killed and 335 injured in 135 accidents in road, rail and maritime transport, as holidaymakers travelled home to spend their vacation with their near and dear ones during Eid-ul-Azha this year.

Liton Ershad, acting secretary-general of Nirapad Sarak Chai (Nischa, or We Demand Safe Roads), a road safety campaign group, presented the report at a press briefing held at the Jatiya Press Club yesterday (Saturday) morning.

The report was prepared based on news reports of different newspapers, online news portals, television channels and news agencies collected by activists of 120 branch organisations of the campaigning group across the country from August 10 to August 18. The report observed that on the roads and highways, 130 accidents took place which left 180 people dead and 344 others injured. The casualties include 26 pedestrians who died while five others were injured. In the rail routes, two accidents took place in which two persons were killed. In the river routes, three accidents left three persons dead, 10 missing and 11 others injured.

The journey back home to the countryside during this Eid-ul-Azha was not as smooth as it was during this year’s Eid-ul-Fitr, observed the report.

The report observed that people in the northern part of the country were the most to suffer this year. They were stuck in a long traffic tailback during their way back home, said the report.

The number of road accidents in the northern part also increased this year. As the three bridges in the Dhaka-Chattogram route were kept open, there was no traffic congestion in the eastern zone this year. The number of road accidents was also much fewer there. In Khulna and Jessore regions, the number of road accidents increased.

Nischa advisor Aiyubur Rahman, a former chairman of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), said the road accidents scenario has turned alarming. He pointed out that road management was monitored prior to the Eid, but was not followed up after the occasion. The former BRTA chairman said the drivers turned reckless as there was no monitoring. He also lamented the fact that unfit vehicles were being plied.

The acting chairman of the platform, Shamim Alam Dipen, mentioned the fact of wilfulness on the part of drivers in app-based ride-sharing vehicles like Uber and Pathou, adding that the tendency to carry extra fare passengers without responding to the calling of the apps has been noticed among them.

He urged the authorities to closely monitor these irregularities.

The platform thinks if this voluntarism is not stopped then they would become reckless like CNG operatives. It would also increase the hassles of passengers.

The platform pinpointed the reasons for these accidents as reckless driving and a tendency to overtake other vehicles, vehicles without fitness, unskilled drivers and helpers, driving vehicles without any rest or breaks, poor road conditions, absence of lanes for small vehicles and irregularities on the roads.

The platform also came up with a number of observations and suggestions, such as monitoring the roads and highways not only before the Eid but also afterwards, taking steps to provide proper licences, curbing irregularities, stopping ransom on the highway, curbs on taking extra passengers and implementing the road safety measures suggested so far

The report also came up with some recommendations for the long run. These included public awareness campaigns on road safety in different media, inclusion of road safety awareness in school curricula, strict implementation of traffic rules and regulations to curb irregularities, construction of underpasses in different areas under the city corporations, and giving free training or scholarships to poor and unemployed youths to create skilled manpower in this sector.

Earlier, on August 18, Jatri Kalyan Samity, another passenger platform, disclosed the data of a total of 253 people who were killed and 908 injured in 244 accidents in road, rail and maritime transport. Of those killed, 224 died in 203 road accidents and 866 were injured.