Make road safety a priority issue | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 31, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 11:36 AM, January 31, 2019

Make road safety a priority issue

More stringent laws needed

According to a report by the road safety campaigning group Nirapad Sarak Chai, some 4,439 people were killed in road accidents last year. This differs from the report published earlier in the week by Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, where figures of casualties were higher. The report was based on news published in six national dailies, online news portals and TV channels since no consolidated official data exists. The findings, however, point to a similar situation. Trucks and covered vans were responsible for more than a third of the casualties (35 percent); bus accidents took a third and motorcycles a little over a fifth. The rest 10 percent involved microbus and other vehicles.

What is sad here is that although organisations like Nirapad Sarak Chai have been involved for decades in awareness-raising campaigns and giving training to drivers, their efforts have had little impact on road safety on a national scale. We would have expected that with so many thousands of avoidable deaths taking place on our roads every year, it would be the administration that would be more proactive in addressing the systemic problems.

Unfortunately, the issue of addressing road safety remains on the backburner when it comes to the authorities taking concrete steps to address some of the major problems. Not even the spontaneous outburst of emotions caused by the death of two of their fellow classmates that prompted thousands of schoolchildren to take to the streets of Dhaka to protest against unsafe roads has had any impact on the authorities. When people's lives are worth less than transport owners' demands that leniency be shown to killers on the roads, how can we expect any positive results?

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