Thursday, March 21, 2019 | ePaper

The road transport sector is found incapable to reduce fatal accidents

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BANGLADESH Police statistics showed that the number of fatalities in road accidents increased in 2018 though many accidents were remained unreported with the police stations. Fatal road accidents are decreasing on national highways, while accidents saw an increase on regional and district highways along with roads in locality.
The gradual increase in number of accidents is linked with failure in checking unregistered and unsafe vehicles on roads, lack of training facilities for drivers and dilapidated road network. Hundreds of committees' suggestions, research and academic articles, experts' opinions, newspapers' columns have produced plentiful recommendations and the government formed Road Safety Act 2018 last year, but nothing has changed. No coordinated action has taken to reduce road accidents.
The data, prepared based on police's first information reports, shows that in 2018, there were 2,609 road accidents, in which there were 2,635 deaths and 1,920 injured.
In 2017, around 2,513 people were killed and 1,898 were injured in 2,562 accidents; whereas in 2016, 2,463 people were killed and 2,134 injured in 2,566 accidents. While the government is desperate to meet one of the targets of SDG-3 to halve the number of deaths and injuries in road accidents by 2020, the current statistics of increasing fatalities on roads could send a contradictory message to the people. But BRTA said the road accident has decreased proportionately when the number of vehicles and number of commuters increased. Highway Police said that they had started to take strict actions against the irregularities including overtaking and plying of slow moving vehicles on the highways. What's true is that the number of accidents and fatalities has increased in suburban areas due to increasing number of unsafe and unregistered locally made vehicles.
We know many reasons including poor road network, uncaring officials and lack of discipline are contributing to fatal road accidents.
The problem is there is no ministerial accountability to serve the people. The voter suppression has made people unimportant for the government competently.
The Road Transport Ministry is found incapable of reducing careless road accidents with fatal consequence. The issue of saving lives should be taken seriously by all concerned.

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