Road Accidents: Sharp rise in fatalities
At least 2,297 people were killed and 5,480 injured in road accidents in the last six months, a sharp rise in the death toll compared to the same period last year, said an organisation campaigning for safety in the transport sector.
National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways (NCPSRR) in a report said casualties in road mishaps has increased by 18.35 percent and the number of accidents increased by 8.6 percent.
The report was prepared on the basis of reports in 22 national and 10 regional dailies and eight online news portals and news agencies.
The 2,297 victims, including 315 children and 292 women, were killed in 1,983 accidents between January and June this year.
Last year, a total of 1,941 people, including 261 children and 262 women, were killed and 4,794 injured in the first six months, it said.
It added that in last month alone, 333 people were killed and 632 injured in 265 accidents in June. Of them, 120 were killed in the last eight days that included Eid holydays. The number of deaths was 133 during eight days including the Eid holidays last year.
The number of causalities during Eid holidays slightly decreased this year, said Ashis Kumar Dey, general secretary of the NCPSRR, adding that the government had taken better preparations ahead of the holidays.
Carrying people on trucks and roofs of buses caused deaths in many cases, he said.
At least 17 people were killed and eight critically injured as a truck carrying Eid holidaymakers skidded off a road in Pirganj upazila of Rangpur on June 24.
WHY SO MANY CRASHES?
Kazi Md Shifun Newaz, assistant professor of Accident Research Institute of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), said road crashes takes place for three main reasons—dilapidated conditions of road and their faulty design, unfit vehicles and untrained drivers and unawareness of road users.
Most accidents on highways occur near market areas and intersections. Local roads crisscross the highways making the intersections accident prone zones. Roadside shops, especially the ones on corners, obstructing visibility, also cause crashes, he said.
Shifun Newaz said unfit vehicles are responsible for many crashes. Besides, drivers overtake each other taking risks and drive recklessly leading to fatalities, he said.
Lack of awareness about road safety among people is also a major factor, he added.
Commenting on the increase in fatalities, he said the government in recent times did not take any significant step which can to reduce the number of crashes. Highways and roads were widened only to reduce traffic jam.
Ashis Kumar Dey said poor road condition in last few months was one of the main reasons for the increase in the number of fatalities.
Road Transport and Highway Division, which surveyed 16,621km highway and road last year, found 79.6 percent of national highways in fair or good state while the rest were in poor, bad and very bad conditions.
The survey conducted between February and May also found 30.79 percent of regional highways in poor, bad or very bad states and 46 percent of the district roads in similar conditions.