Safe road – so near and yet so far

20 November, 2019 12:00 AM printer

For enactment of a comprehensive road safety act, it took a whole lot of things. Every year thousands of people died in road accidents across the country, while thousands got maimed for life. Every death was shocking, but some of them were so earth-shattering and outrageous that it triggered widespread protests, jolting the conscience of the whole nation. After much persuasion by such public spirited movements and civil society members, the government enacted the Road Transport Act 2018 which came into effect from Monday.

The new act is fairly comprehensive and if it can be enforced efficiently, our roads could become much safer. But regrettably, transport workers are trying to thwart the new law by stopping vehicular movements. They have already called transport strikes in about 16 districts, and Dhaka city too witnessed a very low turnout of public transport yesterday.

We think in absence of proper governmental measures to educate transport workers about the new law, who are mostly illiterate, some vested quarters are creating misapprehension and inciting them to resort to anarchy. Therefore, the government should immediately sit with the transport workers and make them aware of the road safety rules and regulation. Most victims of road accidents are result of reckless driving. Simple precautions can save lives. So, the law cannot be altered to allow them to drive whimsically, without driving license and other legal documents.

A safer road is needed for the interest of all, including the transport workers and their family members. It is worth mentioning that one of the two students killed by a speeding bus on Dhaka’s busy Airport which prompted hundreds of thousands of students to take to the street was the daughter of a bus driver. Her life as well as the lives of countless others could have been saved had the drivers not believed that they would get away with the murder receiving light or no punishment at all. So, none should oppose enforcement of the new road transport act and at the same time the government must not succumb to any pressure from any quarter in this regard.