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30 April, 2018 10:55:23 AM
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Traffic accidents becoming a regular affair

Recently there has been a surging leap in road crashes resulting in deaths and injuries
Prof. Sarwar Md. Saifullah Khaled
Traffic accidents becoming a regular affair

We cannot keep ourselves confined to the four walls of our house all the time but we are to go outside on the roads out of necessity and may have to ride transport vehicles to reach some desired destinations. These days we are to do this with sufficient risks which may even cause to lose our dear life even we if do not ride transport vehicles. Our experience is horrific as transports run amuck in the city roads. Only the other day as usual a housemaid lost her leg and a nurse her dear life shortly afterwards in the capital in the night of 20 April 2018 amid a series of road accidents killing people across the country. Road accidents now days have become a go of the day.  

The campaigners for safe roads and travels, in the wake of such road rowdyism, revealed survey findings that at least 87 percent of public transports run amuck for rash driving and over 77 percent drivers in the country do not have driving licences. Everyday on an average 10 to 15 people die in road accidents across the country. Available statistics revealed that in the last six months 1800 people perished throughout the country in road accidents. Such road massacre throughout the country is continuing unabated.

The countrymen are worried because recently there has been a surging leap in road crashes resulting in deaths and injuries. Many of the wounded victims are the only bread-winners of their families and a great many of them become burden on the family forever. Numerous people maimed in road accidents lead a miserable life much to the dolour and woes of their families. According to a research finding, rash driving and break-neck dash of vehicles, are responsible for 53 per cent of the accidents in Bangladesh. But the concerned authorities are yet to take the preventive measures to bring an end to this pestilence causing great mortality. Respect for law is hardly seen among the drivers. Drivers in the capital city and elsewhere in the country are so uncouth and reckless that people's lives are of no value to them.

In utter violation of traffic rules, the drivers vie with each other and drive vehicles with abnormal speed to collect passengers. Such greed results in recurring fatal accidents on roads. As they find no redress, reports of death in road mishaps no longer shock people. But can anyone guess exactly the unbearable pain and sufferings of those who have lost their loved ones in road accidents? The death of a college student Rajib, who lost his right arm after it, had got stuck between two speeding buses in the capital city. Housewife Aysha Khatun's spinal injury, private job holder Rumi Akhter's crushed legs and death of some others are the glaring examples of mindless offence of road hogs.

Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a passenger-welfare platform, came up with a disclosure on 21 April 2018 that over 77 percent drivers in the country do not have driving licence. Only 1.6 million drivers out of a total of 7.0 million across the country, according to the Samity, hold Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) licence. At least 87 percent drivers of public transports in the city violate the traffic rules and drive recklessly. We want to term the deaths in road accidents murders, because we are forced to commute in such condition that lacks proper management and regulations. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) comments: "In reality we don't have implementation of law in the country”. It urged the government to take opinion of general people before publishing the bill of proposed Road Transport Law.

For resolving the ongoing "anarchy" in the transport sector, experts propose at least 10 recommendations to be followed. The recommendations include (i) single-colour bus service by separate companies to avoid sickening competition among drivers, (ii) forming a team with skilled persons named Public Transport Service Authority to look after safety of the commuters, (iii) bringing the activity of traffic department under accountability, (iv) steps against passenger harassment and fare disputes, (v) including professional and skilled persons in issuance of route permit, (vi) ensuring submission of the fines collected from traffic cases directly into banks, (vii) stopping extortion, (viii) making it mandatory for all high officials of both public and private offices to ride mass transports instead of private cars, (ix) making deterrent legal provisions for punishing offenders involved in accidents, and (x) freeing roads from hawkers. There may be more precautionary measures to be taken to bring safety in roads.  

The High Court, by a rule in March 2008, to cut the growing number of road mishaps caused largely by unusually speeding vehicles, directed the installation of “speed governor seals” from March 2009 would be mandatory for all kinds of automobiles. But no visible steps have yet been taken to control the speed of vehicles despite the High Court order in 2008. And the pledge by the road transport minister in 2015 to install speed measurement device called “speed governor seal” is yet to be effected. Although more than ten years have elapsed the authorities have been foot dragging over the issue. There should not be any alibi or excuse on the part of the authorities concerned for not installing the “speed governor seal”.

      Experts opine that the present measure of punishment of drivers for rash driving is very soft and light under the existing law of the land. Drivers would have been more careful and road accidents would have reduced by now if exemplary punishment could be ensured for reckless driving that kill and injure the people on roads. Experts suggest that punishment should be increased for reckless driving to at least ten years imprisonment and the offence should be non-bailable. Road accidents these days have turned an everyday affair across the country and the people have become so accustomed to the misfortune that they bother little about it as their sense of shock because of the events has become sharp less due to its repeated occurrence. This practice of recurring damages of property and killing and injuring people has to come to an end as early as possible.

The writer is a retired Professor of Economics, BCS General Education Cadre.

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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