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Road accidents are happening for callous negligence of the ministry

15 November 2022

IN order to reduce road accidents, the Bangladesh Road Transport Authorities has decided to set coordinated speed limits for all major roads. It has been alleged that different government agencies that construct roads set different speed limits for similar kinds of roads that confuse drivers. The ministry, mainly responsible for managing road safety, it seems, does not know what is its responsibility. It is too late for this government to do anything.
 While it is true that rash driving on the roads and highways is the most important cause of road accidents killing thousands of people every year, it is not all about the problem that has received very little attention from the relevant government departments as if the hundreds of lives that perish on the roads matter very little to these authorities.
Even setting a coordinated speed limit will not be helpful in reducing fatal crashes on the roads, if drivers are not forced to follow the speed limit. Unlike the other countries where drivers of vehicles follow traffic rules rather consistently, both because of their education as drivers as well as swift punishment they face for violating any traffic rule, the scenario in Bangladesh is very different.
Here most drivers are not educated about their job and wherever they find there is no traffic monitoring, they quickly turn unruly that often cause accidents. Still, there is corruption among the people involved in issuing a driving license to drivers and a driving license can easily go to the wrong hands.
Other than these, BRTA still is way behind in creating dedicated lanes for vehicles including the three-wheelers and motorbikes plying of which in an undisciplined manner on the roads and highways is also known to be a reason. It is estimated that more than 50% of accidents occur on the roads due to three-wheelers and bikes.
Therefore, BRTA's meeting with the representatives from Roads and Highways Department (RHD), Local Government Engineering Department (LGED), both city corporations of Dhaka and high police and fixing a coordinated speed limit such as 80 or 60 kilometers per hour will be of little or no help.
To save lives on roads, a multi-prong approach is urgently needed and for achieving this it is absolutely necessary to take road accidents as a national problem. But in a country where a leader of transport workers, when he was minister said that recognizing 'cows' and 'goats' on the highways is enough to testify a driver's competence, we can hardly accept a major reduction in road accidents soon.

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