More lives lost on unsafe roads
TWELVE people, including nine of a family, were killed Wednesday morning when a Shariatpur-bound microbus collided head on with an inter-district bus on the Dhaka-Mawa road at Dakkhin Keraniganj, highlighting, yet again, how unsafe the roads and highways are in Bangladesh. The reason for the accident, according to media, was recklessness of the bus driver, who was trying to overtake a truck when the collision occurred, a sadly familiar phenomenon on the roads and highways. Not surprisingly, the bus driver managed to escape. If there were to be any furore over the accident in the coming days, as has happened in the case of a recent road traffic accident whereby a bus ran over a journalist in the capital Dhaka, he could be arrested but if he would be ever adequately punished for causing so many deaths is altogether a different question. After all, although the incumbent Awami League-led government did talk about amending the relevant law, providing for life-term imprisonment for anyone causing death by reckless driving, such a promise has thus far not translated into reality, apparently in the face of transport workers and owners.
Reckless driving is regarded as a major reason for road traffic accidents and fatalities. Although a serious violation of traffic rules and regulations, the authorities have done precious little to rein in recklessness by drivers of bus, trucks and other modes of transport. Moreover, time and again, it has been reported in the media that unauthorised and unskilled drivers cause many fatal accidents on the roads and highways. Here, again, the authorities have largely failed to ensure that unauthorised and unskilled people do not drive vehicles, especially buses and trucks. The least said about the failure of the authorities to address the flaws in design and construction of roads and highways the better.
Ultimately, thus, although individuals may be causing the accident on the roads and highways, the lion’s share of the blame falls squarely on the shoulders of the authorities for their monitoring, regulatory and enforcement failures. The bottom line is that there must be exemplary punishment for any violation of traffic rules and regulations. Until and unless the authorities ensure such stringent law enforcement, deaths on roads and highways would continue.
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