ARI pushes to end speeding
Speeding is the primary and secondary cause of 74 percent of crashes, yet there is no effective measure to rein in drivers, according to the Accident Research Institute of Buet.
Heavy and light vehicles are involved in 65 percent of the crashes, thanks to unskilled drivers, ARI said conducting research on data of the last 17 years.
Against this backdrop, ARI along with four stakeholders prepared proposals for two development projects aimed at reducing the number of accidents and ensuring proper road safety.
Prof Moazzem Hossain, director of ARI, said these at a seminar titled “Strategic Accident Reduction Programme: Joining Hands of Research and Realisation” at Buet Council Bhaban.
One of the projects, titled “Speed Enforcement, Incident Detection and Emergency System for Safer Bangladesh National Highways”, aims to stop speeding and carry out prompt rescue operations at the scene of a crash, said an ARI handout.
The project will divide 2,000km of national highways into 40km segments. Speed cameras will be installed every two kilometres. A team of law enforcers and fire service will be stationed at every segment.
Footage of a speeding vehicle and its GPS location will automatically be sent to a central server or control room at ARI. The information will be sent to the law enforcement team for taking immediate action.
ARI, Roads and Highway Department (RHD), Highway Police, Fire Service and Civil Defence and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) will jointly implement the Tk 1500-crore project.
The other project is titled “Instructor and Drivers Training Institutional Development and Introduction of Driving Simulator for Driver Testing and Training”.
Citing BRTA data, the ARI handout said 50,000 new heavy and light vehicles hit the roads every year while the number of skilled drivers does not increase proportionately due to inadequate training centres.
Ninety institutions will be established to train drivers and their instructors and a driving stimulator will be set up at the ARI to understand how drivers react in different situations.
The project will produce 30,000 skilled drivers a year meeting 60 percent of the annual demand. Training will be given to 5.5 lakh existing drivers to enhance their skills.
The project worth Tk 1,600 crore will be implemented with the BRTA.
Besides, ARI prepared a technical project proposal to provide necessary equipment for the institute to conduct modern research to reduce accident.
Citing police reports, Prof Moazzem Hossain said around 3,000 accidents take place every year killing around 2,700 and injuring 2,400. He added that the number was under reported.
“Total loss in road accidents is two to three percent of the country's GDP. It amounts to Tk 40,000 crore.”
If implemented, the projects, with a combined cost of Tk 3,107 crore, will be able to cut crashes by 50 to 60 percent, he added.
Kazi Md Saifun Newaz, an assistant professor at the ARI, said they would hand over the first project proposal to RHD and second one to the BRTA for approval.
Finance and Planning State Minister MA Mannan said people becoming victims of road accidents on a regular basis was not acceptable. The ARI research would help prevent it, he said.
The government is struggling to curb road accidents and has already taken several steps towards prevention, he said.
RHD Chief Engineer Ebne Alam Hasan, BRTA Chairman Moshiar Rahman, leaders of bus and truck owners and workers' unions and government officials spoke at the programme chaired by BUET Vice-Chancellor Prof Saiful Islam.