Road accidents are happening every day in the capital Dhaka and in different parts of the country. Although various steps have been taken to prevent these, the concerned police authorities are struggling to control it. People are dying almost every day. Many people are losing their limbs. Someone is crippled forever. Instances of punishing drivers responsible for road accidents are few and far between.
Due to the increase in road accidents, the police have come up with several plans. At least one lakh drivers and helpers are being trained across the country. All preparations have already been made. The matter has been informed to the Ministry of Home Affairs through the police headquarters by the special unit of the police ‘Highway Police’. Police sources told Desh Parwan that their training will begin at 100 locations this month.
According to sources, the police headquarters has been searching for a year due to the increase in accidents on roads and highways. They have confirmed that the drivers are very less accountable, they are reckless in driving the vehicles. By managing some unscrupulous officers of BRTA and police, some got driving license. Drivers or helpers are not adequately trained. At least 78 percent of trainee drivers (laning drivers) are learning wrong driving from masters. Without proper training, they are plying the road with vehicles and causing accidents. There are more accidents during the day than at night. 30% of cases are face-to-face collisions. Special instructions have been given to the police to impound unfit vehicles and bring fake drivers under the law to prevent accidents.
On July 31, 2010, the administration was shaken by the death of Razia Begum, acting secretary of the Ministry of Children and Women Affairs, and Siddiqur Rahman, the then chairman of Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSIC), in a road accident at the Uthuli-Paturia junction in Shivalay, Manikganj. On September 21 of that year, the Ministry of Communications decided to make it mandatory for private car and bus drivers to wear seat belts and for motorcycle riders to wear helmets. Pedestrians should use footoverbridges while crossing roads. Crumbling and dilapidated vehicles such as TomToms cannot ply on highways. Drivers and helpers have to undergo special training. Anyone who violates the law will be jailed and fined.
After this strict order came, the police entered the field by blocking the road. But nothing worked. For the first few days public raids were carried out, but for mysterious reasons the raids are no longer there. After the truck accident in Chittagong’s Mirsrai, the government officials were a bit shaken. Talking on mobile phones or headphones while the vehicle is moving is prohibited by the government through a notification under Section 140 of the Motor Vehicle Act of 2007. But because the new law is not passed, the drivers are showing thumbs up to the police and talking on mobile phones. Accidents keep happening. Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan told Desh Panwar, ‘We are trying our best to reduce accidents. Police are working to increase awareness among owners, drivers and pedestrians. Drivers are undergoing more advanced training. Police and others are working on this.’ He also said, ‘A car without fitness cannot run on the road. Owners need to be more vigilant so that unlicensed drivers do not take to the roads with their vehicles. Law enforcement agencies are working to prevent vehicles from running at reckless speeds.
Highway Police Chief and Additional IGP Mallik Fakrul Islam told Desh Panwar, ‘Highway Police is trying to prevent accidents on roads and highways. Drivers and helpers are being brought under special training. They will be trained in at least 100 locations. Police have been instructed to prevent any speeding of vehicles. Our campaign against unfit vehicles continues. Police is distributing leaflets to make drivers and helpers as well as pedestrians aware. Efforts are being made to reduce road accidents.
The concerned persons told Desh Parwaram that defective or unfit vehicles are plying in different parts of the country including Dhaka. As a result, roads and highways have become unsafe.
According to the police, the number of unfit vehicles on the road is at least 550,000. There are millions of fake or incompetent drivers. Even knowing these facts, no action can be taken against the bus or drivers. If the measures are taken, the transport workers will join the movement. Despite high court orders and civil society protests, the violence of unskilled drivers is not decreasing.
A senior official of the police headquarters told Desh Panwar, ‘The highway police has planned to train at least one lakh drivers and helpers due to the increase in accidents. There are more than 36 lakh vehicles across the country. There are allegations that the owners are forcing the drivers to drive the vehicles for hours. As a result of continuous work, they have an accident. At least two drivers in a vehicle are required by the Motor Vehicle Act; A professional driver can drive a vehicle for a maximum of eight hours a day. Can’t drive more than five hours continuously. These things are not accepted in our country.’
He also said, ‘Our research has revealed that 53 percent of road accidents are due to over speeding. 37 percent of accidents are caused by driver’s reckless attitude. 10 percent of accidents are due to vehicle defects and environmental conditions etc. Among the vehicles covered vans accounted for 0.4%, tractors 1.3%, trucks 0.4%, small trucks 3.3%, articulated trucks 0.6%, rickshaws or vans 2.1%, microbuses 2.3%. Buses 10.2%, baby taxis or CNG 1.5%, heavy trucks 15.4%, private cars 2.5%, motorcycles 12.1% and other vehicles accounted for 37.8% of accidents.
According to police sources, about six months ago, the highway police sent a proposal to the police headquarters about several plans, including training driver-helpers. From there the proposal was sent to the Home Ministry. It is said that the ministry has taken the proposal as positive.
The proposal also states that drivers will be monitored whether they are addicted to alcohol or not. Regular discussions will be held with owners, labor leaders, drivers and helpers. Initiatives will be taken to bring BUET teachers for training.