Roads, highway turn death traps

Published : 17 Jan 2024 10:47 PM | Updated : 17 Jan 2024 10:48 PM

We express deep concern over the tragic death of 7,902 people in 6,261 road accidents across the country last year. Besides, about 10,372 people were also injured in road cashes throughout the year, according to the Jatri Kalyan Samity, a private platform advocating passenger safety  

However, the state-run Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) in its study on Tuesday says a total of people were killed in road accidents across the country in 2023. The number provided by BRTA is much lower than that provided by the Jatri Kalyan Samity.

The difference of almost 3000 is enormous by anyone's standards. BRTA is the regulatory body for the sector, and it publishes the data collected from 64 district offices - after cross-checking with other stakeholders. 

Country’s most highways and roads have become death traps for the travellers with deadly accidents occurring almost on a regular basis. The trend in road crash death is becoming alarming across the country.

In the wake of alarming trend of fatal road crash, the government, different non-government organisations, and universities have organised various programmes like seminars, symposiums, workshops and discussions to prevent such fatal road accidents. Besides, the print and electronic media also continued running stories and editorials that how and in what way we all could take forward the road safety activities for the sake of the country’s development and progress.

The trend in road 

crash death is becoming alarming 

across the country

Apart from these, the government has been implementing massive programmes to build a developed road communication infrastructure in the country. It has extended the network of highways to 21,302,08 kilometers, upgraded 453,07 kilometers of national highways to four-lane, constructed or reconstructed 1209 bridges, 5581 culverts, 18 flyovers or overpasses and 27 underpasses.

But reckless driving, poor traffic management, movement of unfit and slow pace vehicles on highways, semiskilled drivers and lack of their physical and mental fitness, undetermined working hours, lack of capability of BRTA, lack of awareness on traffic rules, extortion in the transport sector are contributing to occur road accidents in the country. Whatever we do to stop the road crash, the fact is that there was no minimum improvement in the country’s road safety prospects in the last year. People who travel from one place to another by road or highway feel they are not safe.

The government must strengthen road safety side by side with making massive development of the country’s road transport system. Besides, all, including transport owners, workers, passengers and pedestrians to work from their respective position along with the government will have to come forward to prevent road accidents.

We think the government should continue upgrading all highways to four or more than four lanes in phases, constructing more flyovers and overpasses, making traffic signs and road markings, constructing restrooms beside highways, imparting training to drivers in this regard. Besides, leaflets, posters and stickers will have to be distributed to make aware the transport owners, drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

The government and owners of transport have to take effective steps for the skill development of drivers, fixing their wages and working hours, enhancing BRTA’s capacity, constructing separate roads for slow paced vehicles, and dividers on roads to decrease the number of accidents.