• Friday, Jun 21, 2019
  • Last Update : 02:10 am

Listening to the people

  • Published at 06:18 pm August 6th, 2018

The number of lives lost in Bangladesh to road accidents every year is absolutely staggering

Too often in the past, assurances of improving laws or road conditions have fallen by the wayside.

Students hitting the streets by the numbers demanding safer roads have created a voice too loud to ignore, and it is good to see that steps are being taken by the government to meet those demands.

The final go-ahead has been given to the Road Transport Act 2018, which proposes a maximum penalty of five years in jail, and a Tk500,000 fine.

We hope this is the first of many steps forward.

But it must be remembered that the main problem in Bangladesh is not the mere lack of laws, but their implementation.

In fact, we need to do a much better job of implementing the road and traffic laws that we already have.

For example, no one who has ever lived or commuted in Dhaka city will deny that traffic lights are mostly non-existent, zebra crossings are rendered useless, footpaths have become havens for hawkers, and, most importantly, buses and trucks traverse the streets of cities and highways with little to no regard for human life. 

The new law is a good move, and shows responsiveness on part of the government, but only time will tell whether it successfully changes the reality of road fatality numbers.

The number of lives lost in Bangladesh to road accidents every year is absolutely staggering, and this new law must not be yet another eyewash, with our reckless drivers continuing to get away with causing fatal accidents.

Our government should be truly uncompromising in enforcing these laws.