Alarming findings about road accident fatalities
AS THE incidence of road traffic accidents and consequence fatalities, often caused by reckless driving, increases, the need for effective measures to rein in the errant drivers has become more pressing than ever. Regrettably, however, the government has thus far hardly done anything meaningful in this regard. Worse still, the shipping minister, also executive president of the road transport workers’ federation, has consistently criticised the conscious sections of society, especially the media, for raising such demands, even arguing that anyone who can understand the difference between a cow and a goat should be issued a driving licence. Now, when the Roads and Highways Department of the government has revealed, in a report submitted to the communications ministry last week, that 58 per cent of all road traffic accidents take place because of reckless driving, he has chosen to play down the findings. According to a report published in New Age on Monday, he termed the department’s statistics ‘inflated’ and observed that it ‘should be 30 to 35 per cent’.
Regardless of the minister’s attempts to underplay public concern about reckless driving, the revelation of the Roads and Highways Department’s report that Bangladesh has one of the highest fatality rates in road accidents is indeed a serious one to take note of. It says more than 100 deaths occur per 10,000 motor vehicles here while the figures are 4 for Malaysia and 12 for India. Besides, road traffic fatality rate in Bangladesh is 50 times the rate in Western Europe and North America. While the number of such fatalities has been on decline in those countries, it has been on the rise in Bangladesh. In these circumstances, the government needs to wake up and take effective steps to address the issue seriously.
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Date:Tuesday, 5th June, 2012