Road fatalities continue

Md Esaraf Hossain

4 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

The procession of deaths on roads is continuing without any interval, frustrating commuters and pedestrians.

Despite the recent student protest for safe roads, discipline is yet to be restored in the country’s transport sector.

Road fatalities have become a regular phenomenon in the capital and other parts of the country.

Reckless driving and slow vehicles like CNG-run auto-rickshaws, electric three-wheelers, and shallow-engine-driven Nasimon, Korimon and Bhatbhati are mainly responsible for fatal accidents on highways.

At least seven people, including an engineer, were killed in separate road accidents in Savar, on the outskirts of the capital, and Noakhali district on Monday. With this figure, at least 20 people were killed in the last two days in the country.

As many as 8,978 people died in 549 days in road crashes across the country until August 27, 2018.

Transport workers from different districts alleged that locally-made slow vehicles operate on the highways paying monthly ‘token money’ to political leaders, police and government officials concern.

Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader recently said the number of deaths in road accidents has increased mainly due to the presence of three-wheelers on highways.

The transport ministry imposed a ban on movement of three-wheelers and non-motorised vehicles on 22 national highways on August 1, 2015 in the wake of spate of fatal road accidents on highways due to increasing presence of these vehicles.

Contacted, Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Highway Atiqul Islam said, “We’re continuing drives against illegal and slow-moving vehicles on the highways across the country.”

“Such drives are a regular process. But recently we’ve intensified the drives across the country,” he added.   

“Due to our strict monitoring, movement of almost of all the unfit and banned vehicles has already been stopped on highways. But some of these vehicles are still plying secretly’, he added.   

Some passengers alleged that many drivers violate traffic rules on roads and highways as patrol police do not perform duty properly.

They demanded that the authorities concerned ensure road safety and take stern action against reckless drivers.

Around 70 percent of road casualties occur in rural areas and nearly 80-85 percent of road accidents happen due to the most vulnerable road users- bicyclists, pedestrians and motor bikers - with major involvement of trucks and buses.

Rustom Ali, secretary general of Bangladesh Truck Owners Association, said, “There’s no alternative to turning busy highways into four-lane ones.”

Besides, the desperate plying of Mahendro, easybike, auto-rickshaw, Nosimon and Korimon are also responsible for fatal traffic accidents, he added.

Bangladesh Jatri Odhikar Sangrakkhan Parishad President Tushar Rehman has said the country’s roads and highways have turned into death traps as fatal road accidents are being occurred frequently.

 He called upon the authorities concerned to take steps to  reduce road mishaps in the country.    

 Mofij Uddin Ahmed, joint commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (traffic-north), told the daily sun that various punitive measures are taken against reckless drivers.

He held both bus drivers and victims responsible for road accidents

On Sunday, Uttam Kumar Sarkar, SI of Rupnagar Police Station, lost his life in a road accident in the capital’s Mirpur area as his motorbike was hit by a bus.

Besides, at least 15 other people were also killed in road crashes across the country on Sunday.

Of them, seven were killed in a head-on collision between two buses in Rangpur, three each in the capital and Bogra, and one each in Narayanganj and Chittagong.

Around 60 people were wounded.

Two bikers and a pedestrian were killed in two road accidents in the capital’s Motijheel area.

A lorry hit the motorbike carrying the two near Dainik Bangla intersection around 10:30pm, leaving them dead on the spot, said Golam Rabbani, inspector of Motijheel Police Station. The victims are Jan-E-Alam and Ripon Sikder.

The other victim was run over by a vehicle at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport intersection. Police recovered the body around 5:00am.

Airport police said they were yet to identify the victim.

In Rangpur, at least seven people were killed and 20 others injured as a bus of Rabbi Paribahan collided head-on with a BRTC bus in the city’s CO Bazar area at 12:15pm.

In Bogra, three people were killed and 39 injured in two road accidents in Sherpur upazila early on Sunday.

A Bogra-bound bus of Ena Paribahan collided with a Dhaka-bound bus of Chandni Paribahan in front of Sherpur Fire Service Station on Dhaka-Bogra highway around midnight, said Humayun Kabir, OC of Sherpur Police Station.

According to a recent report of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, at least 259 people were killed and 960 injured in 237 road accidents from August 16 to 28, when the transport sector saw a huge rush of passengers due to the Eid vacation.

The report, released by the passenger welfare platform at a press conference on Friday, pointed out that the accidents took place despite the measures taken by the authorities to ensure road safety following the recent student demonstration for safe roads.