Friday, June 14, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

On the highway to hell

What makes matters worse is that justice is, more often than not, never ensured

Update : 09 Mar 2024, 11:50 AM
Another week, another road-related tragedy. This time, seven people perished in a three-way collision between a bus, an auto-rickshaw, and a motorbike at Pirjopur’s Sadar Upazila on Friday noon; while three other lives were lost, and 10 injured, in Faridpur early Friday.
Bangladesh was already off to a bad start in terms of improving the safety of its roads, but these two consecutive tragedies show just how far we are in terms of making sure our roads and highways are safe for people.
In 2023, anywhere between 5,000 to 8,000 people lost their lives from road accidents -- this is a high number under any circumstance. Despite repeated pledges from authorities that this is a problem they are tackling pro-actively, the numbers are almost always high year on year.
What makes matters worse is that justice is, more often than not, never ensured. The responsible parties almost always get off scot-free. This, coupled with the horrendous conditions of most of the buses running on our roads -- the primary offender in most cases -- paints a dire picture of not only the current safety conditions of our roads but nullifies any optimism we might have for the future.

We need to find a way out of this mess.
The troubling lack of accountability within our jurisprudence needs to be rectified. Primary offenders responsible for road accidents must be brought to justice, and while it is impossible to put a monetary value on a life or irreparably damaged victims need to be adequately compensated. Our road safety regulations have to be updated and strictly adhered to, especially in the context of highways, while any and all reported instances of transport owners bribing road safety officials need to be investigated thoroughly.
Road accidents and related deaths are all but endemic to our nation, but this is a problem that needs a comprehensive solution not empty words and quick fixes.
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