• Tuesday, Oct 27, 2020
  • Last Update : 11:57 pm

Road safety: Govt initiatives invisible in implementing HC directives

  • Published at 08:12 pm September 5th, 2020
web_dhamrai_accident
The wreckage of the pickup van after colliding with a bus on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway in Dhamrai on Monday morning, August 3, 2020 Dhaka Tribune

1,789 people were killed in 1,849 road accidents across the country from January to August this year

Although the High Court issued 22 specific directives to ensure road safety across Bangladesh nearly five years ago, the government's initiatives are not practically visible in checking unwanted deaths on roads, experts have said. 

They expressed their concern about the growing number of deaths due to unstoppable road accidents and blamed the lack of firm determination on the part of the government to reduce such accidents and loss of lives.   

According to the Accident Research Institute (ARI), 1,789 people were killed in 1,849 road accidents across the country from January to August this year. 

ARI, however, did not collect data in June owing to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), which depends on police records only for such data, said 276 people lost their lives in 317 accidents across the country in June.

According to ARI, 4,147 road accidents claimed 4,138 lives in 2019, while 3,910 people were killed in 3,563 accidents in 2018.

Year

Accidents

Deaths

2020

2,166

2,065

2019

4,147

4,138

2018

3,563

3,910

Among the High Court directives issued on December 7, 2015, some of the major points were -- removing unauthorized structures from highways, identification and construction of necessary level crossings, flyovers, railway overpasses/underpasses, maintaining a "database" regarding road accidents with detailed descriptions of every particular accident, inclusion of important traffic rules in school curricula and taking appropriate steps to broadcast traffic rules on electronic media and also to publish them in print media to create awareness amongst citizens.

Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury, secretary general of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, said: "Following the High Court directives many petrol pumps put up signboards with the message, 'no fitness, no fuel', but we are observing a different reality where unfit vehicles are collecting fuel.

"Still more than 90% of structures have not been removed from highways. At least 250 accident black spots have been found across the country though the number was 144 earlier."  

Mozammel said: "As we know, more than 1,000,000 unfit vehicles are running all over the country, but the BRTA last year informed the High Court that 458,369 unfit vehicles were plying across the country.

The secretary general of the passengers' welfare organization cast doubts on the accuracy of the accident database maintained by the BRTA.

According to the road transport authority, around 1,600 accidents take place in a year in the country, he said, but the real situation is utterly different from the statistics.

Advocate Manzill Murshid, president of Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB), told Dhaka Tribune that the ministry (Ministry of Road Transport and Bridges) concerned  was sincere about implementing all the directives but many local lawmakers were creating obstacles to a removal of bazaars and other establishments from roads and highways. 

"The local administration [deputy commissioner] also does not show much interest in removing unauthorized structures from highways."

Mohammad Abdur Razzak, deputy director (law and enforcement) of BRTA, said: "We are working to implement the High Court directives and to date seven progress reports have been sent to the ministry." 

The deputy director, however, admitted that he was not aware of the specific progress of the directives. 

When asked about the implementation of directives, Deputy Secretary Mohammad Ashraful Alam Khan, who has been assigned to the BRTA, suggested contacting the BRTA chairman for information on the issue.

BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Mazumder could not be reached over mobile phone despite repeated attempts.

'It was possible to implement half of the HC directives immediately'

Syed Abul Maksud, a member of the National Road Safety Council, told Dhaka Tribune that he believed it was possible to implement half of the High Court directives immediately. 

Mentioning that the council submitted a report to the prime minister with recommendations last year, he said: "Although I signed the report as a member of the council, I do not consider the recommendations much important."

He said: "Most of the directives have not been implemented. How is it possible if the same individual becomes the leader of workers and owners of vehicles?" 

Besides, a maximum number of members of the council were from the ruling party, which was another cause for the failure to implement the HC directives, he opined.  

Syed Abul Maksud said many committees had been formed on road safety issues and government officials finished their responsibilities only by limiting themselves to a formation of committees.

55
54
blogger sharing button blogger
buffer sharing button buffer
diaspora sharing button diaspora
digg sharing button digg
douban sharing button douban
email sharing button email
evernote sharing button evernote
flipboard sharing button flipboard
pocket sharing button getpocket
github sharing button github
gmail sharing button gmail
googlebookmarks sharing button googlebookmarks
hackernews sharing button hackernews
instapaper sharing button instapaper
line sharing button line
linkedin sharing button linkedin
livejournal sharing button livejournal
mailru sharing button mailru
medium sharing button medium
meneame sharing button meneame
messenger sharing button messenger
odnoklassniki sharing button odnoklassniki
pinterest sharing button pinterest
print sharing button print
qzone sharing button qzone
reddit sharing button reddit
refind sharing button refind
renren sharing button renren
skype sharing button skype
snapchat sharing button snapchat
surfingbird sharing button surfingbird
telegram sharing button telegram
tumblr sharing button tumblr
twitter sharing button twitter
vk sharing button vk
wechat sharing button wechat
weibo sharing button weibo
whatsapp sharing button whatsapp
wordpress sharing button wordpress
xing sharing button xing
yahoomail sharing button yahoomail