The new draft of the Road Traffic Act 2017 is definitely a step in the right direction in many ways -- it introduces harsher punishments for reckless driving, requires drivers to be educated to a certain degree, and seeks to improve the overall service provided by our public transport.
Which is why two ministers’ opposition to the draft comes as a disheartening reminder of our still-broken political system.
Though the draft is far from perfect, criticism of harsher punishments for reckless driving and educational requirements smacks of bias and personal agenda.
With traffic fatalities a near daily occurrence, and public transport which has been long overdue for a complete overhaul in the capital city, Bangladesh has been in desperate need for stricter, more efficient laws in place to regulate the traffic.
The question needs to be asked: If these drivers haven’t even passed the eighth grade, how are they passing the written driving test?
And with the level of impunity afforded on the road, stricter and harsher punishments will go a long way in ensuring that drivers are kept in line.
Implementation, however, will be key.
But it is a sad day indeed when such a good initiative taken by the government is being delayed and acted against.
We cannot let actual progress towards a more regulated traffic system be halted. Impeding such progress is not only detrimental to vehicular movement, but to the development of the nation as a whole.
To realise its dreams of middle-income status, Bangladesh needs to put as much focus on improving traffic conditions as possible.
We cannot let the path towards a sustainable traffic system be held back any longer.