Monday, March 30, 2020 | ePaper

High risk on the highways: Road transport still in peril

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IN a tragic accident, 13 people were killed as a human hauler and a truck collided head-on in Chunati forest office area under Lohagara on Chattogram-Cox's Bazar Highway on Saturday evening. Most of the passengers of the human hauler were killed as the vehicle collided with a Port city bound truck carrying salt. Several others were also critically injured in the accident. This tragic accident didn't get proper coverage in the media due to severe pressure of Coronavirus related news. The highways across the country are often highly dangerous due to the presence of vehicles which defy the highway speed limits. And sometimes the highways turn fatal due to rampant plying of human haulers, three wheelers and other vehicles of non-automobile mood.  The situation is almost the same in the metropolitan and city areas too where people are killed almost every day. There is only one difference in the cities that is -- most accidents occur due to buses and mostly pedestrians are killed by them. On an average 64 people are killed across Bangladesh daily, and most of them are in Dhaka, according to Bangladesh Passengers Welfare Association.
Though road accidents are increasing every year, the authorities concerned are not paying attention to it. In 2019, a number of 5,227 persons were killed in the country in road accidents. It also meant 788 more people were killed last year compared to 2018. A total of 4,439 people were killed in road crashes in 2018 in Bangladesh. Nirapod Sarak Chai, which works for road safety,  had pointed out that lack of proper monitoring and the authorities' indifference are the main reasons behind the sharp rise in crashes. Some other reasons  mainly responsible for road accidents are - illiterate and unskilled drivers, faulty vehicles and roads, poor traffic management, callousness of pedestrians, lack of political will, and poor enforcement of law lead to road crashes.
We can't understand why the road transport sector still remains as an undisciplined one despite a renowned politician being in its charge. It seems he is too busy offering lip service than to do something necessary for this sector.

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