This is not the way a year is supposed to begin.
According to data collected by various NGOs, there have been 697 deaths and 2,055 injuries from 585 road accidents in Bangladesh in the first 48 days of 2017.
Even setting aside the fact that the death toll is noticeably higher when compared to last year’s, the numbers only work to further prove the appalling conditions of our roads and highways and the policies that allow such tragedies to take place.
The accidents were mostly the result of head-on collisions, which are usually caused by over-taking and speeding -- two particular habits ingrained within the average Bangladeshi motorist.
But the heart of the problem lies within our shoddy transportation policy, which allows such bad drivers to get away with impunity, leaving our roads and highways to turn into deathtraps.
This cannot go on.
Bangladesh already has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world, and we see the statistics get worse year after year.
To improve matters, there are numerous measures that the administration can take to drastically decrease the number of deaths from road accidents.
Making major highways four-lane is always a possibility, a comprehensive vetting process to ensure that only competent and knowledgeable drivers are issued licenses, while speed cameras are proven in drastically cutting down accident rates in other countries.
Such steps will go a long way to make our roads that much safer.
Above all, the government needs to ensure that our medical emergency response system follows the rule of the “golden hour,” treating those injured within the first hour of trauma. This alone can help save numerous lives.
Enough lives have been lost to road accidents in our country, it’s high time that the government lived up to its promise of keeping citizens safe and did something meaningful to tackle this particular problem.