A recent report prepared jointly by Brac and PPRC has pinpointed several reasons for the deadly rise in road accidents all over the country, especially on highways. That we continue to allow unfit vehicles to be driven by drivers without licence or by fake-license holders, and fail to take proactive measures to bring to book those responsible for reckless driving that end up in horrendous accidents, which in turn kill and maim people, are primarily the reasons why there is chaos on our roads.
What is notable is that the bulk of accidents are happening on 57 km of nine national highways. It is also an interesting fact that more than 9 out of 10 drivers caught breaking the law apparently get off by resorting to bribing. Hence, those charged with upholding the law are in fact abetting lawbreakers to flout the rules and this in itself becomes a vicious cycle where the name of the game becomes “rules are made to be broken.”
If we are truly serious about bringing about meaningful change, then hard decisions will have to be taken. The highway law that dates back to the colonial era will have to be updated and strictly enforced by the police. We will have to get serious about addressing the issues of licenses and vehicle fitness, and raising public awareness of the need to follow traffic laws. This is a very tall order for drivers who are mentally tuned to follow no rules, but a start must be made somewhere.