The number of deaths in road crashes during the Eid holiday rush has increased this time even with reduced public transport operation due to the Covid-19 pandemic, a passengers' welfare platform said yesterday.
At least 242 people died and 331 were injured in 201 accidents across the country over the 13 days of rush to travel home and come back to Dhaka, Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity said.
On waterways, 74 people were killed, 39 injured and 17 remained missing in 33 accidents, while one person was killed in four train-related incidents, it also said.
Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of the organisation, revealed the information at a press briefing held at Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) yesterday.
The organisation prepared the statistics on the basis of news reports from July 26 to August 7, he added.
As the number of public transport services were fewer than on past Eid holidays, a greater number of cars and small vehicles operated on the roads, he said.
"So, the number of accidents and fatalities involving private vehicles has increased," he added.
According to the corresponding report of the organisation after last year's Eid-ul-Azha, at least 224 people were killed and 866 injured in 203 road crashes across the country in 12 days of holiday rush.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday directed authorities concerned to form a probe committee to investigate road crashes and casualties while people were returning to Dhaka after Eid.
He also asked the committee to submit a report within seven working days, says a ministry press release.
Over the 13 days of holiday rush, the highest number of single-day casualties -- 32 dead in 26 accidents – occurred on August 4, according to the report. August 7 saw the lowest number of fatalities, eight, from eight reported accidents.
Out of 201 road crashes, motorcycles were involved in 88 accidents, which claimed the lives of 106 people and left 65 others injured.
The organisation said total 310 vehicles were involved in the 201 accidents. Of the vehicles, 32.58 percent were motorcycles; 19.35 were buses; 19.35 trucks, pickups, and lorries; 10 percent were battery-run easy bikes; 8.06 percent were auto-rickshaws; 7.74 percent were cars, microbuses and SUVs while the rest were locally made motorised vehicles.
The organisation said 52.23 percent of the accidents occurred after vehicles hit pedestrians, 24.37 percent were head-on collisions, 15.92 percent after drivers lost control of their vehicles and 7.46 percent accidents due to unknown reasons.
Among the accidents, 32.33 percent occurred on national highways, 49.25 percent on regional highways while 13.43 percent on feeder roads, it said. Around four percent accidents occurred in the capital while around one percent in Chattogram city.
Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury said although only 15 to 20 percent people used roads during the Eid rush this time, compared to previous years, the number of road crashes increased "abnormally".
Holding small vehicles responsible for such a large number of accidents, he recommended limiting the number of such vehicles and increasing the number of public buses.
He also called for training drivers of private vehicles, ensuring accountability of Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and taking necessary steps, viewing road crashes as a pandemic.
Kazi Md Shifun Newaz, assistant professor of Accident Research Institute of BUET, was, among others, present at the press briefing.