Finally, road crash victims to get compensation
Authorities have finalised a compensation package for families of road accident victims, five years after parliament enacted a law in this regard.
At least Tk 5 lakh will be given to the family of a person killed due to reckless or negligent driving.
The ones who have lost a limb or suffered other forms of life-changing injuries will receive Tk 3 lakh each, while the victims who are likely to recover and return to normal life will get Tk 1 lakh, according to the relevant rules.
Compensation claims will be settled by a 12-member trustee board.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will inaugurate the compensation programme on October 22, marking National Road Safety Day, said Road, Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader yesterday.
The development came five years after the parliament enacted the Road Transport Act-2018, devising a new process to compensate road accident victims or their family members.
Thousands lose their lives in road crashes every year, while many suffer from life-changing injuries. However, compensation is still a rare concept in the country.
Under the Motor Vehicles Ordinance-1983, which was repealed after the 2018 act came into force in November 2019, victims or their family members could seek compensation at the Motor Accident Claim Tribunal for death, injury, and damage to properties caused in crashes.
The victims' chances at compensation were narrowed after the ordinance was repealed. In rare instances, victims file writ petitions with the High Court seeking compensation.
As per the Road Transport Act-2018, the government will create a fund for compensating and treating road crash victims. The fund will be created with a one-time or annual "contribution" from vehicle owners.
A 12-member trustee board will deal with the compensation claims, the act says. But the trustee board could not fully start functioning till January this year, in absence of the act's rules.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority started collecting the "contributions" from the transport owners from January as well.
Till July, at least 2,868 people were killed in 2,989 road accidents this year, according to BRTA. However, only 243 applications were filed from January till August 17, said BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder, also the chief of the trustee board.
Asked about the low number of applications, he said, "The broad is scrutinising the applications. The victims will be compensated if their claims are found to be authentic."
"People are more or less aware about the compensation process, but it takes time for them to collect necessary papers for submitting the application," said the BRTA chairman.
However, the number of applications is increasing lately. The trustee board will finalise the number before the prime minister hands over cheques to the victims on October 22, he added.