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25,000 killed, 62,482 hurt in road crash in 3 yrs

Reckless driving, over speed, inferior road condition blamed for 90 pc crashes: Estimated annual loss of Tk 400 billion

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Staff Reporter :
At least 25,120 people died in road accidents across the country in the past three and a half years.
This record suggests that 20 people are killed every day.
Another 62,482 people were injured in the road accidents at the same time, according to report of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity (JKS) and the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of Bangladesh University of Engineering Technology (BUET).
Reckless driving and excessive speed of vehicles and in perior road conditions were generally singled out as reasons for 90 per cent of the incidents.
The study concludes that most of the road crash victims, deceased and injured persons, were children, youth, and earning members of the family as well as driving force of the national economy.
The two organisations have estimated that the annual losses caused by the road crashes would be about Tk 400 billion.
However, the number of casualties is much lower in the records maintained by 'Nirapad Sarak Chai' or 'We Demand Safe Road', an organisation founded by Film Actor Ilias Kanchan. It records 13,367 deaths and 19,158 injuries in the past three years.
Between January 2015 and June 2018, the country saw as many as 18,732 road accidents,   according to JKS study. The frequency of accidents was higher in 2015. The figures of accidents had been compiled from reports published in 10 national dailies, six online dailies along with 6 local ones and several television.
Motorcycles contributed to the highest percentage of accidents -- 34 of all. The percentage is 27.5 for trucks and covered vans, 25 per cent for buses, and 15 per cent for cars and microbuses, the study analysed.
More than 50 per cent of the victims belong to 16 to 40 years of age, and 18 per cent is under 15 years, the ARI study found.
The country loses 2-3 per cent of its gross domestic product (GDP) due to accidents.
More than half (53 per cent) accidents took place due to higher speed, and 37 per cent for reckless driving, the study by ARI explained. It summed up that 90 per cent of the accidents occurred due to reckless driving and excessive speed.
"The government neglects road safety issue. It does not consider the losses caused by road crashes and traffic congestion as a serious national issue," said Shamsul Hoque, a BUET teacher. He also pointed out that the ministries are neither worried about road nor crashes skilled manpower. "The problem cannot be resolved only by passing law. The entire process must be changed."
"The pedestrians die due to engineering faults and lack of awareness," said Kazi Shifun Newaz, ARI Researcher and BUET teacher. "Inadequate zebra crossing, no free space in footpaths, lack of automatic signaling system, and lack of management for pedestrians' road crossing are among the responsible," Shifun added. Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, General Secretary of the passengers rights body Jatri Kalyan Samity, said, "Number of road accidents could be brought down by 90 per cent if proper government programme is taken. And road accidents will decrease largely if the agitating students' demands are met," he concluded.

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