Like every Eid, this year’s festivities were marred by the deaths in road accidents. According to Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Organization 224 people were killed in August alone. This is absolutely unacceptable as these deaths were preventable and we must ensure to stop such tragedies from happening.
Road traffic injuries are a sustainable development issue as most of these global deaths are occurring in low and middle income countries which lose approximately 3% of GDP as a result of road traffic crashes. In Bangladesh, road traffic crashes are a major public health concern resulting in over 21000 fatalities each year.
Despite repeated assurances from the authorities to take strict action against reckless drivers and transport owners, accidents are continuing at an alarming rate. Many of the perpetrators are not being brought to justice and so the cycle of reckless driving perpetuates.
Infrastructure development and planning are required in our country. Majority of the accidents take place on the highways. Bangladesh Road and Transport Authority (BRTA) must make the necessary changes to the infrastructure and roadways to reduce the rate of accidents. Policy changes must be brought to existing laws in order to make sure that those responsible for loss of life are brought to justice.
Driving licenses of those involved in multiple accidents must be seized for good. The authorities cannot be lenient when handing out punishment to the killer drivers. Vehicles must be regularly serviced to keep them road worthy and ensure safety precautions in them. Vehicles which do not meet international road safety standards must be banned and taken off the streets.
The behavior of drivers and passengers must be altered as well if the rates of road accidents are to be reduced. Drivers must be given mandatory safety training to receive and renew their licenses as well. Awareness campaigns should be conducted nationwide to ensure that everyone takes the necessary precautions to prevent tragedies from happening.