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Road accidents blamed for rise in deaths of children

  • Published at 08:28 pm November 24th, 2018
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BSAF data shows that a total of 549 children died in road accidents from January to October of 2018

The number of child deaths in the country has been increasing due to reckless driving, particularly involving buses and trucks.

The prevalence of child deaths caused by infectious disease has increasingly shifted to external causes like road accidents and drowning.

A United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (Unicef) study also revealed that after infancy, injury is the leading cause for children’s death  in Bangladesh.

According to Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum (BSAF) data, a total of 549 children died in road accidents from January to October of 2018, while 79 others were injured during this period.

In 2017, the death toll was 357, and 58 children were injured. Child deaths toll was 252 in 2016, while 31 were injured that year.

The organization collected the data by analyzing the news published in 15 national dailies from Dhaka.

The BSAF is a national network of child rights NGOs, which advocates for the promotion and protection of child rights in Bangladesh.

Experts and rights activists working with the children said children were predominantly involved in traffic injuries as pedestrians, bicyclists, vehicle occupants and passengers.

The safety of children on the roads are deteriorating as direct consequences of the rapid growth in population, motorization and urbanization, the experts said.

Lack of monitoring, an increase in the number of small vehicles, competition among drivers, and the lack of awareness among pedestrians are to be blamed for the accidents, they said.

Mahmudul Kabir, country cirector, Terres Des Hommes Netherlands, said: “Lack of proper supervision and lack of people’s awareness are the major reasons behind the increasing number of child deaths in road crashes.”

“Reckless driving, the plying of three-wheelers and motorbikes, and the carrying of passengers and goods in locally-made mechanized vehicles are the major causes of the rising death toll.”

Speaking to the Dhaka Tribune, the BSAF Director Abdus Shahid Mahmood said: “The reasons behind the increasing child death rates are: huge risky turning points and dilapidated roads, overloading and overtaking, violating laws, not following traffic rules and regulations properly on long routes, long-shift driving without breaks, the non-enforcement of laws to stop the plying of unfit vehicles and employing unskilled drivers.”

He urged the government to take significant and effective initiatives to make the roads safer by increasing surveillance of traffic members on highways, as well as constructing roads with modern technology.

He suggested seeking technical advice and support from Bangladesh University of Science and Technology (Buet).