Our deadly roads remain deadly
A statistics unveiled by Jatri Kalyan Samity, a platform working for passengers' welfare shows that at least 7,855 people were killed and 13,330 others injured in as many as 5,516 road crashes across the country last year. Moreover in waterways 2019 people died, 282 injured and 375 went missing in 203 incidents.
Once again, this brings to light the appalling condition of our roads and highways, as well as unenforced laws which allow such tragedies to take place at such alarming rate. This grim scenario is very disappointing and the staggering number of deaths questions our conscience - how can a developing nation fail so miserably to ensure road safety?
Over the past decade we haven't seen any change in drivers' mindset and that is why they continue to drive recklessly and engage in risky overtaking.
Our steamers and launches often carry way more passengers than their fixed capacity. Therefore the question that needs to be asked - 'Is the authority doing enough?' The situation suggests that authorities have not done enough to rectify faulty roads. Clearly the Ministry of road transport and bridges has a lot to answer for. On the other hand, BRTA, which is responsible for granting vehicle licenses and overseeing fitness of vehicles, has evidently failed to meet its professional obligations. Unfortunately there is a nexus of corrupt officials involved in issuing false driving licenses. We need to identify the culprits and hand them over to the law enforcers.
Furthermore, since 2018's road safety movement, there has been no significant development noticeable. However, one must admit that there is a huge lack of awareness on roads and that it is not just on the part of drivers alone, but general people too. People do not have enough knowledge of traffic laws, and those who do ignore them deliberately. The end result of course is that the death toll keeps rising each passing year. We need to do something about this and it requires a two-pronged approach. While technical problems of roads can be solved easily, changing mindsets requires a national campaign that will not fizzle out in a week or a month.
Lastly, as Bangladesh marches toward its economic goals, the government must remember that safe roads and highways are absolutely a crucial part of development -- new bridges, highways, and mega projects will mean nothing if people continue to die on our roads at this rate.