Sunday, 28 November, 2021

Let Roads Be Safe and Accident-free

Monirul Haque Rony

Let Roads Be Safe and Accident-free

Safe roads are a prerequisite for smooth and fearless movement. But country's roads and highways are becoming increasingly insecure for movement; those are being turned into death traps. Unexpected accidents are constantly happening on these roads that are very tragic and heartbreaking that shock us very much.  After opening the page of the newspaper, a sad picture of a road accident somewhere in the country is seen everyday.  As the death march in road accidents is getting longer, so is the number of injured.  Statistics show that in 2020, the number of deaths in 4,891 road accidents in the country was 6,686 and injured was 8,600.  Most of these accidents happen on national and busiest roads.  According to a study, about 29 percent of road accidents occur on national highways and about 45 percent on regional highways.

The notable reasons behind road accidents that have come up again and again are the faulty car without fitness, reckless speed of unlicensed or illegally licensed drivers, competitive driving.  According to a study by BUET's Road Accident Research Institute (ARI), 53 percent of road accidents are caused by over speeding and 37 percent are due to reckless attitude of drivers. Accidents are also often caused by unconsciousness, driving under the influence of drugs, excess freight or over passenger transport, incompetence or driving with a driver's assistant.  Apart from that, less than required number of roads, narrowing of roads due to illegal car parking is also one of the causes of accidents. According to researchers, a city has to have road coverage over 25 percent of the total area.  But in big cities including the capital Dhaka, the amount is only 6 to 7 percent.  Our poor traffic system is also largely responsible for road accidents.  Although the number of road accidents is increasing day by day, the authorities controlling roads and highways are often seen to play an indifferent role, which is considered as the latent cause of road accidents.

For the dilapidated condition of roads and extreme mismanagement, safe roads have become one of the prime demands of recent times. Ilias Kanchan, the forerunner of the “Nirapad Sharak Chai” movement, started this movement for safe roads after the death of his wife in a road accident, which is an unquestionable demand of the people today. In the context of this movement, the government declared October 22 as 'National Safe Roads Day'.  However, this movement was further accelerated by the movement for safe roads organised by the students after the death of two college students of Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College in a road accident in 2018. This movement was a shining example of demand for safe roads.

They showed how to bring order on the roads. After that, despite the promises made by the government to restore order on the roads and make the roads safer, the vicious competition of disorder and breaking the rules is still going on in the roads. Pedestrians are always frightened by the dilapidated condition of the road and the reckless movement of vehicles. However, the government sometimes takes various plans and steps to bring order on the road.  But, in the implementation of it can be noticed snail’s pace.  Our traffic system is also in the period of blindness.  Here too is an extreme lack of modernization.

Bangladesh is one of the UN member states that have pledged to halve road accidents between 2011 and 2020. Nevertheless, the number of accidents has not decreased even after the deadline; those rather have increased.  It is not the time for the authorities to sit idle. They have to take measures now to make roads safer by preventing increasing occurrences of road accidents. Effective steps have to be taken to ensure that no one can get fake licences in any way. In order to issue a licence, not only signature knowledge but also educational qualification up to at least class eight as well as proper training should be set as preconditions. Including providing institutional training for the drivers, strict punishment should be ensured for those who violate traffic laws and drive recklessly. There are widespread allegations that unskilled drivers are getting licences in exchange for bribe.  In this case, it is possible to stop it only if the traffic police are strict, otherwise it is not.

It is also true that not only the drivers are responsible for the accidents. Accidents also happen due to the carelessness of the pedestrians. So, in addition to raising awareness among pedestrians, they must be forced to obey traffic laws and use sidewalks and foot over bridges. Moreover, introducing a lane system on the road, those who drive in the opposite direction should also be brought under the law.  Road accidents will be greatly reduced through proper enforcement of the existing 'Road Transport Act 2018' along with the formulation and implementation of sustainable transport strategies is ensured.  Furthermore, if the transport sector is freed from extortion and political influence, discipline will return to the sector.  Above all, the government's deep focus on people-friendly communication and safe roads will undoubtedly reduce road accidents to a great extent. It is not possible to say for sure where and how a death will take place, but it is important to ensure that no death is caused by road chaos and reckless speed of vehicles. Let our roads be safe and accident-free.


The writer is a Lecturer, Department of

Social Work, Savar Government College,  Savar, Dhaka.

Email: [email protected]