We do not understand why slow moving three-wheelers and illegally modified vehicles are still plying our highways despite several government and high court orders banning them from highways. According to our report, in the last six days, at least seven road accidents have taken place involving these vehicles, killing 40 people and injuring many others. In a deadly accident last Saturday in Pabna, a microbus, illegally modified into a human haulier, collided head-on with a bus which also did not have a route permit, killing 15 people.
According to Accident Research Institute of BUET, about 15 percent of all road accidents involve low-speed vehicles which do not have registration and fitness certificates and their drivers do not also have licences. Currently, around 20 lakh unregistered vehicles, including locally-made Nasiman and Kariman, etc., are running on the roads and highways across the country.
The ban cannot be enforced for a number of reasons, as described by some transport sector insiders. One reason is that many local lawmakers and political leaders are against this ban. Road Transport andBridges Minister also admitted to this fact last year as he said that local lawmakers wanted the government to suspend the ban till the national election so they did not lose votes. Another reason is that local political leaders and unscrupulous law enforcers collect a large sum of money from the drivers of such vehicles, and if the ban is enforced they would lose this "unofficial" source of income. And, the most important reason is, there are no separate lanes on the highways for these vehicles.
In order to implement the ban, separate lanes should be made for slow moving vehicles on a priority basis, the unfit and illegally modified vehicles should be taken out of the street and alternative job arrangements have to be made for the people who have no option but to drive these vehicles. We urge the government and the transport authorities to take concerted efforts to solve these problems and enforce the ban strictly.