There were 5,514 road accidents last year nationwide
A report of Bangladesh Passengers Welfare Association said at least 7,796 people were killed and 15,980 were injured in 6,048 accidents in land, water, and air ways across the country last year.
This includes 7,221 deaths in road accidents. A further 394 people were killed and 284 were injured in 370 train accidents, 126 were killed, 387 others went missing and 234 others injured in 126 accidents on waterways while 55 people were killed and 32 injured in five accidents in airways, the report said.
Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, general secretary of Bangladesh Passengers Welfare Association (BPWA) read out the written statement to journalists, regarding the alarming rise in the number of deaths due to road accidents in a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Friday.
He also highlighted the reasons and recommended measures to bring the menace under control.
"The report was prepared by monitoring news reports on road crashes published in regional, national, and online newspapers," he said.
Syed Ishtiaque Reza, editor-in-chief of both Gazi TV and online news platform sarabangla.net, Ekram Ahmed, former chairman of Public Service Commission (PSC), Supreme Court lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua, among others, addressed the event.
The speakers at the conference illustrated twelve reasons for the accidents, recommended measures and stressed on their implementation.
Hossain Zillur Rahman, former adviser to the caretaker government of Bangladesh said, the problem remains, though several initiatives were taken to decrease the number of accidents as the measures were deficient in making it accountable and credible.
“To bring discipline in the transportation system, transport sector should be brought under the center of policy making,” he said.
“To ensure accountability in the sector, the main factors behind the unstable situation should be identified and proper steps should be taken,” he added.
Distracted attitude of drivers, pressure from transport owners to conduct more trips, careless and inattentiveness attitude of passengers are some of the factors that give rise to accidents, he said.
Aiubur Rahman former BRTA chairman said it was really a great initiative to formulate the Road Transport Act, but is yet to be implemented.
Reckless driving, overtaking, constructional error of the road, unfit vehicles, careless attitude of pedestrians, unskilled drivers, use of mobile and headphones while driving vehicles, driving after use of drugs, sudden appearance of vehicles on the highway and rail crossings from the feeder roads, lack of and grabbing of footpaths, overloading vehicles and increase in the number of small vehicles are the various reasons, the report said.
The measures recommended to combat the menace in the report included implementation of the road transport act, conducting regular road safety audits and campaigns, to free footpaths from illegal occupation, establishing and drawing road signs and traffic symbols, arranging professional training and ethical education for drivers, removing unfit vehicles from the roads, making separate lanes in highways, repairing roads, preventing three-wheelers from using highways, and constructing overpasses and underpasses on the national and regional highways for pedestrians.