Daily the procession of death is rising in road accidents. Roads and highways have become death traps. Countless lives are getting lost. Many families are facing uncertain future after losing main earning member. However, the ‘accidents’ which can be likened to ‘massacre’ is going on unhindered. The question is how much longer? Every day the life of somebody or other in some places of the country is being extinguished by the monster called “Road Accident”. But it is possible to stop the accidents by taking a few steps from the concerned.
From 2015 to the present, a total of 31,793 road accidents have been recorded, leaving 91,793 injured, and 43,856 dead. To say that is unacceptable would be a gross understatement. Not only are we losing tens of thousands of lives to these accidents, but the enormous human casualties have far-reaching consequences, which include economic devastation, particularly for people in the lower-income groups.
In 2020 and 2021 alone, the economic loss amounted to Tk32,877.9 and 29,479.9 crore respectively. In the ongoing calendar year, the total loss has been estimated to be 1.11% of the country's GDP, according to a study by the Accident Research Institute (ARI). These are astonishing numbers that do not bear well for a country looking to take the next step in its development journey.
ARI data show that 75% of the accidents take place on the highways because of clashes between high speed and slow-moving vehicles. This indicates that steps must be taken for separate lanes on the highways for rickshaws and smaller short-distance vehicles.
The country’s losses per year due to road accidents are about 5 billion taka, which is 2 percent of GDP. Due to delicate traffic management, infrastructural problems, planning and policy weaknesses, and non-awareness, road accidents are increasing. Therefore, in order to prevent road accidents, authorities will have to take effective steps to overcome these problems. A statistics from the Institute of Road Accident Research, Bangladesh University of Engineering, said that in a year, about 3,000 people were killed in about 20,000 small and big road accidents. One hundred thousand injured, most of them are crippled.
Though the causes are known but the accidents are not being prevented. Reckless driving is one of the reasons for the accidents. But the guilty drivers do not get any punishment for this. If anyone is punished, then a strike is called by the transport workers and owners. They make the commuters hostage till the drivers responsible for the accidents are freed. Truly, in many ways people are hostage to the transport sector.
How to stop this death procession and how long will it take to stop the ruthless massacres on the road? How to decrease the number of road accidents in different parts of the country every day? Every day, people are losing their lives due to road accidents. The injured survivors become an additional burden on their family, the society and the country. Every day, pictures of the horrific scenes of people sitting beside mangled vehicles and distorted bodies in different parts of the country are being printed and shown, but there is no visible effort and urgency for us to overcome the prevailing situation, which seems to be of greatest concern.
Although, it is not possible for the government to stop such a road accident overnight, but to ensure the safety of the people’s life on the roads, the government’s concerned authority must take the necessary steps due to the seriousness of tragic death of people on the roads. On the other hand, the drivers must be more responsible for taking care of people’s safety in mind when they are driving. Sometimes the drivers have little driving skill and no road safety knowledge. To save passengers from cruel death training the drivers on road safety seems to be more urgent at this moment.
People are forced to ride on the risky transports due to necessity despite fear of death. But the question arises, who will be responsible for the murder of innocent people and the responsibility of their families and the crippled persons in such circumstances? The concerned people always avoid the responsibility of what they should do after such accidents. Therefore, the concerned people will have to look out for the reasons which are causing such a terrible road accident every year and to take quick correction and preventive measures. Although this statement is true, the scenario that is more relevant in any road accident related to our country and the administrative work is that, after an accident, the vehicle involved in the accident is seized and attempts to arrest the driver is made.
In the majority of the cases due to the owners of the transports, the workers associations and the invisible forces, criminals have come out with light penalties, and some money was fined by reducing the amount. As a result, these accidents are getting more due to the lightness of the punishment. And because the criminals are not punished it has become more difficult to prevent such accidents. Although many organizations are working in the country to control the roads and vehicles, but most of the time they have become active after a major accident and the rest of the time remains inactive. So people expect that the government and the concerned people will focus more on the matters of road accident.
The demand for safe road for the people of this country has been going on since long ago. But road accidents are increasing every day due to inefficiency and inadequacy of the drivers. There is a need to speed up the road and traffic control authority and transport owners-workers’ organizations with regard to safety. There must be more honesty and transparency in employment of the drivers and the regular monitoring of their skills must be done more carefully. The danger of a transport helper becoming the driver of the vehicle if he can reach the steering of any vehicle must be stopped by strict banning of illegal license and improper training. The tendency of both the drivers and the owners are to earn more money. So the same driver is used in the long distance haul, day and night, not thinking of the driver’s rest or the passenger’s safety. Such callousness is not desirable.
Likewise, if there is total compliance of appropriate traffic laws and regulations in the case of driving, it would be possible to reduce the accidents, but there is a tendency to overlook the ignorance of the law. Long-distance buses or truck drivers tend to be addicted and try to overtake each other at wrong places. Also there is tendency to frequently change lanes and failure to drive in the correct lane. There are several other reasons behind road accidents. Accidents are not only caused by fault of the cars or the drivers but also the bad conditions of the roads are also to be blamed. Such bad conditions of the roads arise as due to the lack of necessary repair or bad road construction work done by frauds, lack of necessary signal lights on different connecting roads, lack of supervision of roads and bridges, tendency of parking on the roads, etc.
As a result, on the one hand, the premature death of human resources is happening, the family is in trouble and the country and society are financially losers. Simply think that if care in hiring and training the drivers are done it will be very helpful in preventing such damage. If it is possible to enhance the surveillance of the highway police, increase the necessary initiatives from the concerned authorities, and increase the respect of the traffic laws then such deaths will be minimised. So, as soon as possible, the way to prevent such accidents, the government and its concerned will have to awaken greater awareness and ensure overall security of the people on the roads. Because if there is still no immediate initiative taken by the concerned people to improve the situation on the roads, then such accidents will continue to increase, which is not good for the country and the people.
In this case, the government has to take short and long term plans. Passengers must be more aware of their own movement security. If the driver makes a mistake or there is inconsistency in the driver then immediately the passengers will have to respond to the wrongdoing and prevent the wrongdoing of the driver, then some of the accidents can be prevented. To ensure overall security of the people’s lives on the road, the owners, drivers and concerned people will take collective measures with utmost importance to this matter - the people of the country expect this. No person or family should fall into the hands of such ruthless abnormal and premature death due to the lack of awareness and irresponsibility of the driver, the lack of responsibility of the authorities and the excessive greed of the transport owners. So, as soon as possible, the driver, owner and the concerned government must introduce more sincerity to take effective action. People expect more and they will be more inclined to bring public relief in the movement of vehicles.
Meanwhile, we have lost many valuable lives in road accidents, the country’s longstanding writers, journalists, politicians, actors and actresses. We want to see the road accidents coming to an end. Let us take initiative to prevent road accidents from our respective places. We hope the authorities concerned will take serious and immediate measures.