Thursday, 29 September, 2022
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Making Dhaka roads safer

Making Dhaka roads safer

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Bangladesh is home to 168,090,083 million people, and the capital city of Dhaka holds about 22, 478, 000 million people. Dhaka itself is the 8th largest city in the world. It is a city that never sleeps. The roads of this city are a testament to the fact. Because of the density of population, heavy traffic is a part of the daily life here, and unfortunately so is reckless driving. Much like any other large city in the world, Dhaka has a vast road system that is always developing. Every day, Dhaka roads are filled with cars, buses, trucks, CNG-run auto-rickshaws, bikes, and rickshaws. The roads are crowded and jammed, regardless of the place and time. The problem lies here, day-by-day, the roads are gradually becoming more and more unsafe for driving vehicles. Because of lack of monitoring from the police, the situation worsens everyday.

The roads often lack lane markings, although some people are indifferent enough to drive their vehicles along the proper lanes. This is true for CNG-run auto-rickshaws, bikes and rickshaws. These three categories of transports are small and compact, which can fit into small gaps of lanes, and thus easily disrupt other vehicles’ movement. Often, these modes of transports come closer to each other, creating unbearable traffic congestion.

Buses are another cause of concern. People of fixed income and poor ones prefer buses to other mode of transports as they can travel at comparatively cheaper fare. But many of these vehicles run without fitness certificates, while the drivers are too young to drive on the busy city roads. A large number of them is uneducated and lack driving licenses. Traffic owners employ them on daily basis to save money. They try to go to their destinations faster to make trips as much as possible within a certain period to earn extra bucks. They try to pick up passengers at close intervals depriving other buses by resorting to a mad race. On many occasions, they compete with each other putting the lives of city residents at stake. They are accustomed of changing lanes frequently, which blocks movement of other vehicles. They care less to drive their vehicles following the traffic rules. Many buses that they run are unfit for driving on city streets.

Fatal accidents occur due to rash driving of these unskilled drivers. They make city roads unsafe for commuters and pedestrians alike. Many times, they make roadside people’s lives risky too.

Lax enforcement of traffic rules are also blamed for chaotic city roads. Because of this phenomenon, the reckless drivers carry on the atrocities without fear. Traffic cops are positioned at busy spots in order to manage traffic. But most of them are corrupt. They allegedly allow the rule flouters to indulge in illegal activities in exchange of bribes. Moreover, there is shortage of manpower in the traffic department of police. The vehicles outnumber the cops, and it is extremely difficult to manage everything at once. It is important to ensure more manpower in order to deal with the vast number of vehicles that ply on the roads.

School and college students, office-goers, petty traders, everyone is  largely dependant on buses to reach their respective place of work or educational institutions.  Transport drivers, regardless of the vehicles they drive, should be well aware about traffic rules and regulations. Law enforcers should not show leniency towards the traffic law violators; rather they should follow a policy of ‘zero tolerance’ towards the rule flouters. They must go tough to unruly transport workers so that they cannot carry on mayhem on roads. Increase in manpower of police officers on traffic duty is an essential need, now more than ever. Road accidents can be caused if these reckless and uneducated drivers are allowed to do anything as per their whims. A road accident brings permanent misery for the family members of the victims. In many cases, the victims of accidents, who escape death, become burden for the family members.  Transport owners, drivers, workers, passengers and pedestrians all are duty-bound to bring discipline on roads be behaving in a proper manner. Traffic police personnel should be recruited considering their honesty and integrity. Above all they should be well-paid so that they do not have to resort to dishonest means to run their families. It should be a priority to make roads safer for public.

 

Fardin Haque, a student of Canadian

International Institute Dhaka