These accidents are entirely avoidable, and we need stronger, more concrete action from the authorities to stop them from occurring
It has been two years since students took to the streets in Bangladesh during the road safety movement. There were too many deaths on the streets every day, and people were tired of the impunity enjoyed by those who were largely responsible for the majority of the accidents.
It is extremely disheartening, however, that two years after that watershed moment in our country, road safety continues to be a major problem.
Last Friday saw the tragic death of Reshma Nahar Ratna, a school-teacher and an aspiring mountaineer, who was run over and crushed under the wheels of a microbus as she was cycling on the streets of Dhaka. In separate news, a night coach rammed into a number of vehicles early morning on Saturday, killing at least six people and leaving many others injured.
At the core of such accidents, which continue to happen, again and again, are reckless drivers, often without licenses, who have no business operating such vehicles. These drivers, and indeed those who hire them without proper verification, continue to enjoy impunity, and it is average law-abiding citizens like Reshma Nahar Ratna who pay the ultimate price.
While the Road Transport Act of 2018 is now in effect, and the authorities have repeatedly tried to reassure the general public that they are taking action, news about our unsafe roads and highways continue to come at an alarming rate. These accidents are entirely avoidable, and we need stronger, more concrete action from the authorities to stop them from occurring.
We are in the midst of a global pandemic, and Bangladesh is already struggling on many fronts. Unsafe roads are simply compounding the existing misery, and this simply cannot be allowed to continue.