Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC), the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiatives for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) and the Vital Strategies.
Venue: Conference Room, Main Building of DNCC (Nagar Bhaban), Gulshan-2, Dhaka.
Date: 19 November 2023.
Authorities concerned should increase awareness among road users on safer road use, traffic rules and suffering of road crashes. Evidence- based mass media campaigns should be in place through utilizing all mediums, such as newspapers, TV channels, social media outlets and roadside digital media screen.
DMP and BRTA should ensure effective implementation of traffic laws, including Road Transport Act, 2018 and Road Transport Rules, 2022 and standardized helmet guideline by BSTI in 2022.
DNCC and other authorities concerned should ensure safer road crossings, such as zebra crossings at the intersection.
Drivers and transport owners’ associations should obey the laws and rules concerned and ensure vehicle fitness.
The government should ensure effective collaboration amongst all agencies concerned to ensure road safety.
Data of road crashes should be scientifically collected by authorities concerned.
Road traffic victims should receive emergency care without any delay and get proper treatment.
Md. Atiqul Islam
Mayor, Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC)
Md. Selim Reza
Chief Executive Officer (Additional Secretary), Dhaka North City Corporation
Md. Abdul Wadud
Coordinator, Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS)
Aminul Islam Sujon
Technical Adviser, Road Safety, Bangladesh, Vital Strategies
Chairman, Nirapad Sarak Chai (We demand safe road)
Brig. General Md. Amirul Islam PSC,
Chief Engineer, Dhaka North City Corporation
Sk. Md. Mahbub-E-Rabbani
Director (Road Safety), Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA)
SM Mehedi Hasan BPM (bar), PPM (bar)
Joint Police Commissioner (Traffic), Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP)
Mohammad Mamunur Rahman
Senior Road Safety Specialist, Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA)
Dr. Md. Shariful Alam
Country Coordinator, Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI)
Dr. Md. Ashraful Alam
Associate Professor, Institute of Social Welfare and Research
University of Dhaka
Dr. Armana Sabiha Huq
Assistant Professor, Accident Research Institute (ARI)
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)
Speech of Road Traffic Victims
Advocate Iti Rani Saha
(Widow of road crash victim)
Lawyer, District and Sessions Judges' Court, Manikganj
Journalist Nikhil Bhadra
(Road crash victim)
Special Correspondent, Daily Kaler Kantha
Ehsanul Haque Jasim
Reporter, Bangladesh Post.
Sayed Hasan Al Manzur
Reporter, Bangladesh Post
Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) mayor Md. Atiqul Islam expressed his commitment towards making the roads safer for the citizens in his jurisdiction. To achieve this, the mayor urged other government stakeholders to act accordingly. Mayor expressed his commitment in a media dialogue on road safety to mark the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims 2023 which is observed globally as the third Sunday of November every year since the United Nations adopted this Day in 2005. Government stakeholders concerned, road traffic victims, road safety specialists and activists attended this event. Despite the government’s enormous efforts, death in roads is surging every day. To check the fatalities, experts gave their perspectives on road safety for commuters and pedestrians in Dhaka. Road traffic victims also shared their sufferings and urged to ensure safer roads for everyone. Detail discussions are as follows:
Md. Abdul Wadud
The Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) is working with Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) aiming to reduce road crash fatalities and injuries to ensure road safety in Dhaka. Partners of Bloomberg Philanthropies, including Vital Strategies, Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit at the Johns Hopkins University, World Resources Institute and Global Road Safety Partnership, are providing various technical assistance to the DNCC. In this regard, for the first time, DNCC observed the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims with technical assistance from Vital Strategies. This roundtable media dialogue is part of the Day observance. On behalf of BIGRS, I welcome everyone, and express gratitude to all, specially honorable mayor of DNCC, Md Atiqul Islam who is playing a vital role to ensure road safety in Dhaka North, and Mr. Ilias Kanchan, who is synonymous of the road safety movement in Bangladesh for gracing the event.
Aminul Islam Sujon
The purpose of the World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims is to provide a platform to the families of road crash victims; to remember those who died prematurely and those who were maimed due to road crashes and prove emergency service to them; to ensure legal rights of every victim; to stop death on road through by taking proper initiatives following research-based data.
Each year, 13 lakh people die in road crashes around the world, while 50 lakh people are injured who go to hospital for treatment. The theme of this year’s day is justice for road casualties. Fair investigation is needed for road crash incidents to find out whether a crime is committed, or a violation of the law is committed. If there is any wrongdoing, justice must be ensured through legal process and proper compensation to the affected families. Such measures will play a vital role in reducing road crashes in the future.
Approximately 25,000 lives are lost in road crashes every year in Bangladesh as per a report of WHO. However, most healthy people die in road crashes. It is the second leading cause of permanent disability in the country and as estimated 220 people become permanently disabled daily. The disability increases the burden on the victims’ families and the country.
More than half of those killed in Dhaka are pedestrians and motorcyclists. The pedestrian casualties in Dhaka have become an epidemic. Dhaka is now the most dangerous city for pedestrians. On the other hand, motorcycle crashes are increasing day by day alarmingly and it has reached a pre-epidemic situation. 44 per cent of the people killed in road crashes in the city are pedestrians, while 17 per cent are motorcycle users.
Iti Rani Saha
My husband was involved with the environmental movement. He died on the road on May 21, 2018. In the morning on that day, he was on the roadside at Hemayetpur of Savar to go to workplace in the capital city. Two Dhaka-bound buses were in race to go first. One of the speedy buses ran over him, leaving him bleed to death on the road. I talked to him about ten minutes before he died on the spot. At that time, we had been married for ten years and one month. Our son was 8 years old and daughter was 3 years old. Many people visited our house following my husband’s tragic death and they still maintain contact with us. However, no one can compensate for the irreparable loss of my family. I am having a hard time with my family, which cannot be explained. My son and daughter lost their father forever which cannot be compensated.
We have laws and law enforcement agencies but there is lack of transparency and proper enforcement. No one should have license under 18 years old but we can see many underage people driving vehicles recklessly. How they acquire license? Or are they drive without license? Everything is possible here if you are willing to give bribe. Thousands of three-wheelers, easy bikes, illegal old vehicles and transports without fitness ply on the road. Who is responsible to check this? We can see many traffic police in every intersection but the illegal vehicles plying recklessly in front of their open eyes.
We all have to act responsibly. Everyone has to know their duties and follow that. We should voice our concern to enforce existing laws and regulations strictly to reduce tragic crashes on the road.
I lost both legs in a road crash and now rely on artificial legs. I was in an assignment to cover news in front of the National Press Club on December 28, 2011. I was on the roadside but a speedy bus suddenly ran over me without any horn. When I fell under the wheels of the bus, people started screaming and the bus fled the scene immediately, crushing both of my legs. I went to the hospital myself.
I got maximum support in the treatment due to the Prime Minister’s inquiry and the cooperation of others, including political leaders and members of my community. About Tk. 70 lakh was spent on my treatment in the country and abroad. Without the support of the PM and the state and my office, I would not have been able to get treatment because neither I nor my family could have afforded to spend even Tk. 70 thousand. Thousands of people who are victims of road crashes every year, can they get proper treatment? However, our country’s healthcare management or hospital treatment system for traffic victims is not victim-friendly.
Every day many people die in road crashes, more are injured. Despite our many initiatives, road deaths are not stopping. Road crashes should be reduced with proper initiatives and planning. There are many stakeholders, traffic police, administration, hospitals management, everyone has to act coordinately to avoid mismanagement and to reap better results from the initiatives they have taken to reduce road fatalities. An integrated management needs to prevent road crashes.
Armana Sabiha Huq
Many of us usually blame the driver first after the occurrence of a road crash. We also blame passengers and pedestrians. It is not right to make such a perception in the place of justice. Poor road design is often responsible for road crash. In many road crashes, drivers are not responsible, someone else is also responsible for the incident.
The number of motorcycles is increasing a lot day by day in Bangladesh. Motorcycles are being registered on a large scale without creating separate lanes. Many traffic victims also die due to lack of access to emergency medical facilities.
We have to move towards the ultimate advanced technology in road crash prevention. Now traffic control cannot be done by using manual method. We have to adopt modern system and technology-based system, we have to adopt Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based traffic control system. It is the demand of time.
Md. Ashraful Alam
As much as we discuss road safety, we don’t discuss road crash victims. There is no adequate research on the post-impact of road crashes as well as long-term impacts on the survivors and the victims’ families. Most of the road crash victims are usually active people. When an earning person dies or becomes disabled suddenly, the entire family’s income is cut off.
We should think about those who are victims of road crashes, post-incident treatment requires a lot of money which not all families can afford. In such case, we don’t see necessary support. Who become disabled face more problems in society. Besides bearing their medical expenses, they become a burden to the family.
When you contribute to the family, you are appreciated. When you become a burden of family, the perception often changes. You suffer negligence from your family in various ways. This is the reality. However, for girls there are more problems in this regard.
Rapid treatment should be arranged for road crash victims as many families can’t bear the treatment expenses. That is why financial incentives and support are needed in the field of treatment. Setting up trauma centers on highways is necessary to provide quick treatment following a road crash. If the victim of road crash is able to work, employment should be generated for him and if disabled, social security and allowance should be ensured.
SM Mehedi Hasan
Many people die in road crashes, causing a lot of loss. No one can be blamed for this specifically. A concerted effort is needed to address road crashes. That is why everyone should come forward.
Traffic police are working sincerely to ensure road safety in Dhaka city. However, it is not possible to prevent the number of traffic rules violations in one day with the limited manpower. What can the police do if traffic rules are not widely obeyed? The number of traffic rules violations in Dhaka city in a day is huge. How many people will we sue? Even if cases are filed against violators of one-day traffic rules, it will take months. How is this possible? Law enforcement depends on who I am enforcing? How aware are they? Law enforcement is easy if road users are aware.
Sk. Md. Mahbub-E-Rabbani
Those of us who are in government and private bodies concerned and the owners of vehicles, drivers, passengers and pedestrians don’t perform our responsibilities properly. We can reduce road crashes and casualties if we perform our responsibilities properly.
Although road crashes happen every day in Bangladesh and many lives are lost, compared to other countries of the subcontinent, the number of road crashes and casualties in Bangladesh is not much. The incidence of road crashes is relatively high in low and middle income countries.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has inaugurated the long-awaited compensation scheme for road traffic victims. Now road traffic victims or their family could claim compensation. Under this scheme, the family of a victim killed in road crash will get Tk 5 lakh as compensation, while those lose a limb or suffer severe injuries will get Tk 3 lakh. Meanwhile, the victim who receives injuries can get Tk 1 lakh.
The fund is mainly to be created through contribution from vehicle owners, while the government also provides a significant amount. Other sources of funds will include fines collected for violation of traffic rules; grants from owners’ associations, trade unions or labour associations; and any other legal source in the BRTA.
The BRTA, city corporation and other organisations concerned are implementing various initiatives to reduce road crashes. We are working to create awareness among the people. We introduced automation system for driving license to bring authenticity about driving license. The BRTA has taken the initiatives as part of the efforts of the government to build ‘Smart Bangladesh’. All problems will not go away one day. We continue to work.
Mohammad Mamunur Rahman
Many people die on the road every day while many others suffer life-changing injuries but we can’t establish justice for the traffic victims. All of us are responsible! Road crashes happen due to multiple causes such as speeding, use of mobile phone, overloaded vehicle, poor light condition, overtaking, plying of unfit vehicles, fault of driver and pedestrian, driving on wrong side, defect in road condition vehicles and road design. We must reduce road crashes to resolve these problems.
The road safety issue got priority since the issue got more importance after 2018 students’ movement following the death of two students on airport road in the city. Later, the issue did not get proper importance.
Untimely death of a person, particularly a woman, destroys a family. My wife died in a road crash 30 years ago leaving our seven-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son. Mother’s importance to children is immense. If my wife had not died in the road crash that day, it would have been better if I had died.
The World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims encourages the use of research-based data to make roads safer by emphasizing the importance of commemorating and providing emergency services to those killed and maimed on the roads and taking necessary legal and policy actions. On this day, the families of those who died in road crashes will remember the victims and other victims. On the other hand, those who don’t have a road crash victim in their family should never become a victim and wish that no one else becomes a victim.
The organisations, institutions and forces involved in the issue of road safety should perform their duties properly. The initiatives taken to prevent road crashes and provide safety on the roads should be properly implemented. We often take nice and creative initiatives for the betterment of the society. It starts off brilliantly, but slows down later.
We must be ashamed for inactivity, for violation of laws or for not enforcing the laws. If everyone acts properly, road crashes will be reduced in Dhaka city as well as Bangladesh.
Md. Atiqul Islam
The DNCC is working with the DMP, BRTA, DTCA and other government, non-government and international organisations concerned to make the city roads safe. For this reason, the DNCC has been involved with the Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety (BIGRS) aiming to reduce road traffic crashes, deaths, and injuries in Dhaka. Road safety is a global challenge and the DNCC’s involvement with BIGRS will benefit the people of Dhaka regarding road safety issues.
Smart and Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven traffic control is a must in the present time to reduce road crashes. The DNCC initiated the AI-based traffic control system at Gulshan-2 signals. I think it is high time to adopt smart and AI-based technologies for traffic systems. We must use AI in the traffic management system and give up the traditional method as we are heading towards the Smart Bangladesh concept. However, law enforcement is not the duty of the city corporation. So, alongside the drivers, commuters and pedestrians, all organisations concerned should play their respective role in a coordinated way.
There is a need for research on road safety issue. A design has been made for a road in Banani based on seven-month research carried out by the BIGRS partner World Resources Institute (WRI).
There are regular demands for the construction of more foot-overbridges. Additional foot-overbridge will spoil the beauty of Dhaka city. Personally, I am not in favour of any more foot-overbridge. The zebra crossings will be improved to make them more useful by elevating around six inches from the road level to make the road crossings safer for pedestrians.
My elder brother was killed in a road crash in the USA. I know how it feels when one loses his/her loved one in a road crash. Such unexpected death leaves each family in a dire situation. We can blame government. But this is not the solution. To prevent road crash, all of us must work responsibly. From drivers to pedestrians and law enforcers, everyone must bear the responsibility to lessen road crashes.
Most of the time, road crashes happen when many buses engage in competition with speeding to go first in the road. This is a deadly exercise and must not be tolerated further. We even see educated youth racing in the newly inaugurated Elevated Expressway in Dhaka city violating the speed limit. Authorities concerned should prevent such incidents in future.
The megacity of Dhaka crossed its limits. We must consider this too.
Md. Selim Reza
The road crashes are now happening in such a way that we are not even guaranteed a normal death in many cases. When we get on the road, we become reckless. Drivers, motorcyclists, passengers, pedestrians all become reckless on the road. Road crashes cannot be blamed solely on anyone. Everyone should be aware of this. However, vehicles should not be driven on the road at excessive and reckless speed, otherwise danger may occur at any time. Proper training of drivers has not yet been arranged. Many underachieving boys drive vehicles and ride motorcycles. It must be stopped for the sake of road safety.
Anyone can become a traffic victim in our life. We have to be vocal and take measures to prevent road crashes.