Ensure proper training for drivers to make the roads safe

DRIVING without license has been blamed as one of the prime reasons for the deadly road accidents in the years. The number of trained drivers is too inadequate against the actual demand due to lack of proper training facilities. Shortage of driving schools and instructors have created crisis of skilled drivers, and reckless driving by them is causing frequent accidents on roads. Only 135 driving schools have been registered with the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and there are 183 driving instructors across the country. Six out of 183 instructors got licence in 2019.
The driving schools trained 17,818 people in 2016-2018 and of them, 11,862 were trained to get professional licence and 5,956 were trained for non-professional driving licences. But the activities of the existing driving schools were hardly monitored. As of June 2019, 22 lakh drivers with valid licence drive 40.57 lakh registered motor vehicles across the country. In such situation, the transport authority took an initiative to monitor the driving schools and in March this year, it asked the schools to provide information on number of people they had trained in past five years. Motor Vehicles Regulations 1984 made it mandatory for an individual to have educational qualification of secondary level having licence to drive heavy vehicles, having three years’ experience of driving heavy vehicles, being at least 27-year old, and having good character to get licence to drive heavy vehicle. There were around 2.60 lakh heavy vehicles in Bangladesh while only 1.6 lakh people had licence to drive those.
Shortage of driving training schools and instructors obviously is a threat to road safety. Most of the drivers on the road had no institutional training and got driving licences through underhand dealings with the help of some dishonest BRTA officilas. Properly trained instructors are highly needed to train drivers while there are faults in the system. The BRTA should monitor driving schools strictly and make facilities for creating more instructors. The transport owners should check drivers before appointing them. When there is an accident, all blame the drivers but the authorities till now could not ensure training for all of them. The authorities concerned must take immediate measures in this regard.