Nearly 30,000 killed in road accidents in 4 years, says Passenger Welfare Association of Bangladesh. The government committed to reducing road accidents at least 50% by next year, as part of the UN General Assembly’s Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020, but little progress has been made so far.
Last six months situation
At least 2,329 people, including 291 women and 381 children, were killed and 4,361 others injured in 2,159 road accidents across Bangladesh in the first half of 2019, says a new report.
1) reckless drivers racing,
2) contractually leasing vehicles to drivers or conductors on a daily basis,
3) employing drivers without any license,
lack of awareness among pedestrians and small vehicle drivers, especially motorcyclists,
4) tendency to overload and overtake among drivers in violation of traffic rules.
extensive driving without any interval,
lack of implementation of law to stop plying of unfit vehicles,
5)violation of traffic rules on long routes, increase in motorcycles and three-wheelers on roads and highways,
6) carrying passengers and goods in locally-made motorized vehicles.
Initiatives to improve road safety
Following the death of two college students, parliament passed the Road Transport Act, 2018, on September 19 last year. President Abdul Hamid approved the law on October 9 the same year. However, the law is yet to come into effect as the required notification has not been published. Furthermore, the ruling from the act has not been drafted.
The government formed a high powered committee in February this year, to make recommendations for cutting down road accidents and bringing discipline to the roads.
The committee, headed by former shipping minister Shajahan Khan, submitted its report in April. The report includes 111 recommendations, and a taskforce to implement the recommendations was formed in September.
The recommendations include 50 that are to be implemented immediately, by December this year. However, the taskforce is yet to begin its work.
The recommendations by the committee include mandatory social awareness campaigns using films, billboard screenings, campaigns on bus tickets, and mass media.
The committee also recommended that traffic laws be integrated into the academic curriculum up to the 10th grade by 2020, and that the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) train 1,000 skilled driving instructors.
Furthermore, it was recommended that 5% of national funding be allocated for development of roads and highways, and that road and transport related organizations deposit 1-2% of their annual profit into the fund.
Stressing the need for programs to raise awareness of road safety, PWAB Secretary Mozammel Haque said the government should engage students of schools, colleges, and universities to make awareness campaigns successful.