Bringing ‘Discipline on Roads’

111 recommendations ready for final nod

Anaet Shawon

4 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

A total of 111 recommendations have been made to prevent road accidents and bring discipline on the streets across the country.

A high-powered committee on ‘restoration of road discipline and prevention of accidents’ has recently finalised a draft of the recommendations.

The body will send the draft report to the Road Transport and Bridges Ministry for the final approval after taking public opinions from today.

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority Chairman Mohammed Moshiar Rahman told the Daily Sun that the road accident prevention committee has prepared a draft of recommendations.

“The committee will send the draft to the ministry for its consent after taking public opinions,” he said.

“The draft will be finalised soon after the return of ailing Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader.”

Sources in the BRTA said the committee has given 111 advices after holding a series of meetings led by former shipping minister Shajahan Khan.

Earlier, the road transport and bridges division formed the 15-member body headed by Shajahan Khan on February 17.

It gave the March 10 deadline for submission of recommendations, but the committee failed to complete the task within the stipulated time.

According to the report, the committee suggested three types of measures — immediate, short-term and long-term ones — for bringing discipline and safety in the roads.

The committee suggested separate timeframe for implementing those measures — immediate measures have to be implemented by December 2019, short term step within 2019-2021 and long term within 2019-2024.

They have set the timeframe that the adequate financial support and logistic support will be provided by the government otherwise the implementation process will be hampered.

As per the report, the committee has prepared the draft, taking Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s six-point  suggestion and the PMO’s 19-point suggestions into cognizance.

The panel has made the suggestions for seven sectors in creating awareness and providing general knowledge over road safety, training for drivers and BRTA officials for building effective human resources, increasing of capability of concerned authority, engineering of vehicles, fixing of infrastructure road engineering, implementation of law and its rule, and sufficient financial allocation.

The report recommends free public service messages on road safety rules and the raising of awareness through various media forms, including advertisements, billboards and even bus tickets.

Road crossing, get in and get down to the vehicles by the school student’s should be monitored by school authorities or police.

The committee said the media should refrain from “spreading negative and confusing information” on road accidents.

Efficient instructors will be ensured so that none can get driving training without efficient instructor.

The committee says 1,000 driving instructors should be assigned by 2020, partially by hiring retired security force personnel as instructors and standard will fixed for driving school with standard manual.

They also recommend adding traffic laws and road safety issues to the curriculum of Grades I to X.

The report recommends that the BRTA take the initiative to implement this course of action. It also suggests that private businesses can be given low-interest loans to open driving schools.

The report also suggests ensuring for BRTA endorsed institution’s certificates during having driving licences.

The report also states that women drivers “take fewer risks” and thus recommends that new opportunities be introduced for women drivers and to raise the number of women employed as drivers.

The report states that advanced training is required for traffic police on issues of road safety, acquiring accident information, investigating accidents and behaviour. They also say initiatives should be taken to treat those injured in road crashes as quickly as possible.

They also suggests for ensuring safety, pedestrian friendly environment on footpath and underpass and bringing under close-circuit camera.

The recommendations also include plans for road infrastructure development and maintenance, which includes removing obstacles and obstruction on footpaths, the construction of new pedestrian walkways, construction of raised zebra crossings in front of schools, colleges and religious institutions and the barricading of parts of roads for pedestrians.

The report also suggests removing barriers from roads, keeping a 20-metre distance between highways and nearby buildings and to relocate the entrances of any shops near such highways to the opposite side of the building.

It also recommends removing manholes and dustbins from roads and to flatten manholes that cannot be removed so as to prevent accidents.

They also recommend for avoiding planting trees on the road divider only herb can be planted there.

The report suggests the banning of makeshift vehicles from highways and making separate lanes for motorcycles.

Recommendations for reducing traffic accidents in urban areas include the franchising of bus routes to prevent competitive driving, installation of mobile trackers in vehicles, removing rickshaws from Dhaka roads, limiting the number of ride-sharing vehicles and only selling motorcycles to licence holders.

The panel said that strict measures should be taken to punish any drivers talking on their mobile phones or listening to music on headphones while driving. Any public transport must display photos and identities of drivers and helpers, with their licence numbers and phone numbers, in a place visible to passengers.

The committee has recommended the formation of a road safety authority under the supervision of the prime minister.

The report has also recommended the full implementation of the road, water transport and rail policy. Any road development project must allocate 5 percent of its total funds to road safety initiatives, the committee said.

The panel has recommended the simplification of procedure in giving accident victims insurance payments and compensation.

Besides, it recommended making all footpaths free of illegal occupation, setting up new ones and ensuring their round-the-clock monitoring.

One of the major recommendations was formulation of rules of the Road Safety Act.

Besides, drivers of long-haul buses and truck should get rest after every five hours. The drivers should not be at the wheels for more than eight hours at a stretch.

The committee also pushed for preventing illegal three-wheelers from plying highways and bringing them under a mechanism so that they could ply regional highways and local roads.

One recommendation is that all professional drivers must attend a two-day training before renewal of their licences.

Also, a driver cannot be appointed on daily basis and the owner must give him or her appointment letter mentioning his or her salaries. Besides, nobody should be allowed to buy motorcycle without valid licence, it said.

The recommendations said that trauma centres and fire service stations have to be established near highways so that rescue operation and medical treatment are properly ensured.

In its report, the committee said no inter-district bus terminal should be allowed inside the city.

A committee has to be formed comprising transport owners and workers and police to stop extortion in the transport sector. It will come up with a comprehensive report on the issue.

The body said a modern database has to be prepared by collecting data on road accidents and conducting scientific research on it. The database will be operated by police.

Besides, the Inland Container Depot at Kamalapur and Central Storage Depot in Tejgaon should be relocated outside Dhaka.