Another life lost in a road accident

The recent addition of a woman to the list of casualties resulting from road accidents is testament to the fact that our authorities have failed to bring under control the high rate of deaths from road accidents in the country. The latest tragedy occurred when the woman was trying to cross a busy street near the Golap Shah Mazar of Gulistan along with her daughter, and both of them became trapped between two buses that were trying to overtake each other. Although the daughter was able to free herself in time, the mother was crushed under one of the buses that went into reverse.

So far, both the buses have been seized and one of the drivers has been detained, while another perpetrator is on the run. This incident is a clear-cut example of drivers of large vehicles ignoring road traffic rules, which happens far too often in Bangladesh. Due to the lack of implementation of existing traffic laws and the impunity that is often enjoyed by drivers whose actions have caused accidents, we are continuing to see such reckless behaviour on our streets.

Besides, the mutually beneficial affiliation between transport workers and owners and the absence of an obligation to pay sufficient compensation to victims’ families, either by the perpetrators of road accidents or the people who employ them, are some of the reasons why street fatalities are continuing unabated. Although the government has replaced the dated Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983 with the new Road Transport Act 2018 with a view to curb road accidents, the lack of implementation of this Act has reduced it to being a mere piece of paperwork. Additionally, the RTA 2018 does not do enough to hold transport owners accountable for the behaviour of their drivers, even though we are all aware that these cases of speeding often occur because drivers are trying to meet the daily quota assigned to them by their employers.

How long will the situation continue like this, with innocent lives being lost on our dangerous roads on an almost daily basis?

The authorities must act urgently to implement all of the provisions of the Road Transport Act with due diligence and dismantle the syndicate of influential figures, transport owners and drivers who continue to evade responsibility for their actions and act with impunity.

There is no point in having laws if they are not going to be implemented, and it is the duty of the state to ensure that the families of road accident victims receive justice.