Justice continues to elude road crash victims | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 15, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:41 AM, February 15, 2020

Editorial

Justice continues to elude road crash victims

Culture of impunity is behind the increase in road accidents

It is most unfortunate that despite the enactment of the Road Transport Act 2018, the 17-point directive given by the Prime Minister's Office, and the several "traffic weeks" observed by the police, the government could neither bring discipline on our roads nor could they ensure that road crash victims get justice. In a recently held press conference, organised by road safety campaigners, some of the victims' family members expressed their frustration at the indifference of the authorities concerned in ensuring justice for their loved ones.

According to one victim's father, all his efforts to seek justice for his son's death— he wrote to the inspector general of police and the commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police, and even wrote to the prime minister as well as several other ministers seeking justice—have failed to get the desired response from the authorities. His son Tashin was killed by a speeding bus last year while he was crossing a street using a zebra crossing. What was most disturbing in this case was the fact that the police didn't even help the victim's father to file a case against the killer bus driver, although now they (the police) are saying that they themselves have filed a case against the driver. In another instance, when a case had been filed against the accused driver, his associates threatened the victim's family to stop the legal battle. Moreover, in many other cases, although the accused drivers had been arrested, they were released in no time.

Needless to say, the culture of impunity enjoyed by the guilty drivers as well as the transport workers only emboldens others to disobey traffic rules, and is one of the major reasons behind the increase in road accidents. According to a report by Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, in January alone, at least 547 people, including 146 students, were killed and 1,141 others injured in 531 road accidents across the country. Such a high number of deaths in a single month is appalling and calls for immediate attention of the authorities. Under the circumstances, we expect proactive measures from the government in ensuring justice and compensation for the road crash victims as well as implementing the recently enacted Road Transport Act 2018.

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