Tuesday, 30 May, 2023

Tragedy on expressway

Utter disregard for human life

In a time when Bangladesh has been boasting of gradually transforming its highways into expressway, a fatal road accident on Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Expressway in Shibchar upazila of Madaripur on Sunday, which claimed at least 19 lives and injured 25 people, dealt a shocking and embracing blow to the country’s developmental efforts. Because it points to lack of necessary speed limit mechanism as well as speed checker facility on the expressways. Although there is a speed limit of 80km per hour, vehicles often ply above 100km per hour.

Initial investigation into the accident suggests that the passenger bus carrying nearly 60 passengers was being driven recklessly at topmost speed, while there was technical glitch on its wheels. It is also alleged that the driver had no sleep in the last 30 hours before the accident happened. All these factors may have contributed to the driver’s loss of control over the vehicle, plunging it into a ditch smashing the fence of the newly built expressway.

Almost every day newspapers report on road accidents in various parts of the country. According to the Bangladeshi passengers’ welfare association, a record 9,951 people were killed in road accidents in Bangladesh last year. And yet, the authorities have long been showing a brazen disregard to road safety. With such a high ratio of totally preventable deaths on the roads, we wonder when the authorities concerned would wake up from their slumber and take necessary steps to regulate transport business and enforce road safety mechanisms and laws.

The latest accident brings to the fore almost all possible causes of road accidents such as reckless driving, unfit vehicles, slack monitoring and overwork of the drivers. Road accidents can be reduced significantly by addressing these issues. Some more steps such as strict enforcement of traffic rules and speed limits, giving proper training to drivers and creating awareness among pedestrians can reduce road accidents to a bare minimum. We hope the government will take proper steps to show that they value human lives on the roads.