National, Front Page

Selfie mania taking lives on rail tracks

Published : 18 Feb 2020 09:43 PM | Updated : 04 Sep 2020 02:11 AM

Taking selfies recklessly on open rail tracks are causing many fatalities in the country for what transport experts blame lack of awareness among people and inadequate safety campaign by authorities. According to a study (2016-17) of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET), 73 percent of total collisions and 90 percent of total deaths occurred at level crossings.

However, there is no exact data available on fatalities on rail tracks. Death of two friends at Kuril in the capital on Monday when they were taking selfies on rail tracks caught huge media attention. Transport expert Mominul Islam said, “We have many examples of train accidents while taking selfies on open rail tracks. Selfie accidents are happening on the hills, in the river and along the road.”

“We need a mass campaign highlighting these causalities to reduce such accidents,” he added. Mominul further said many such accidents took place in the past, mostly involving youths as they are not adequately aware of the danger of the reckless acts of taking selfies on railroads.

Department of Psychology professor at the University of Dhaka Mahmudur Rahman said selfie addiction has become deathtrap in many cases, particularly on open rail tracks. “There is a lot of discussion about the curse of technology. I think science and technology will be a blessing or a curse, depending on which way it is being used,” he said.

Referring to the Railways Act which stipulates that any infiltration into railway line is a punishable offence, Mahmudur said capability of Railway Police should be enhanced for safe rail tracks. The deadliest train accident in Bangladesh happened in Tongi in 1989 involving two trains that claimed nearly 170 lives.

Passenger Welfare Association Secretary General Mozammel Haque Chowdhury said, “We’re not talking too much [about train accidents]. Many big projects are being taken. But they are not focused on what should be the priority. ” Experts say many youths are doing very reckless and dangerous things to capture selfies as they are fascinated by the social media. The highest number of selfie deaths took place in India. Of the 127 'selfie deaths' recorded in the world from March 2014 to September 2016, 76 occurred in India. Most of the victims were youths.