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Promptly enforce road safety laws to reduce traffic deaths

Published : Thursday, 23 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 557

Promptly enforce road safety laws to reduce traffic deaths

Promptly enforce road safety laws to reduce traffic deaths

The lack of stringent enforcement of road safety laws has created a situation where drivers often disregard regulations, leading to a continuous procession of tragedies on the roads. This disregard for the law contributes to the ever-growing toll of fatalities, a deeply distressing reality. Daily, media outlets report on the grim news of lives lost due to road accidents. This cycle of preventable loss underscores the urgent need for effective enforcement measures to curb this epidemic of road accidents.

Every day, 14 individuals lose their lives due to road accidents, as reported by the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA). The records from 2023 indicate that there were 5,495 road accidents, leading to around 5,024 fatalities and a comparable number of injuries.

According to data from the World Health Organization, approximately 1.3 million individuals lose their lives in road accidents worldwide each year. Shockingly, in Bangladesh, 24,954 people have succumbed to road accidents. The statistics reveal that a significant portion of these victims, approximately 67 percent, fall within the age group of 15 to 64 years old.

Moreover, the economic impact of these accidents is profound. In Bangladesh, road accidents result in a loss of approximately 5.3 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These figures highlight not only the devastating human toll of road accidents but also the substantial economic repercussions they impose on the country.

The Road Transport Act 2018 was originally passed in parliament, introducing a maximum penalty of five years imprisonment for accidents resulting from reckless driving. This legislation followed widespread student protests advocating for safer roads, prompting the government to draft the law and increase penalties for fatal accidents to two years imprisonment.

Bangladesh enacted Road Transport Act in 2018, aimed to address the longstanding issues of road safety and traffic management in the country, its implementation has faced significant challenges.

Firstly, there have been concerns about the enforcement of the Act. Despite the presence of stricter penalties for traffic violations and measures to improve road safety, the effective implementation and enforcement of these provisions have been inconsistent. This lack of consistent enforcement undermines the intended deterrent effect of the law and fails to adequately address the root causes of road accidents.

Secondly, there have been criticisms regarding certain provisions of the Act, particularly those related to the accountability of transport operators and drivers. Some stakeholders argue that the Act does not go far enough in holding transport companies and their management accountable for safety lapses and negligence. This could potentially perpetuate a culture of impunity among transport operators and drivers, hindering efforts to improve road safety.

Additionally, there have been concerns raised about the Acts focus on punitive measures rather than comprehensive measures aimed at addressing the underlying factors contributing to road accidents, such as poor road infrastructure, inadequate public transportation systems, and lack of driver training and awareness programs. While imposing penalties for traffic violations is important, a holistic approach that addresses these broader issues is necessary for sustainable improvements in road safety.

Overall, while the Road Transport Act 2018 represents a step towards improving road safety in Bangladesh, criticisms regarding its enforcement, accountability mechanisms, and focus on punitive measures highlight the need for continued review and refinement to effectively address the challenges facing the countrys road transport sector.

Bangladesh has one of the highest rates of road accidents globally, resulting in significant loss of life and economic costs. Enacting a new Road Safety Act with updated provisions and stringent enforcement mechanisms is essential to address this pressing issue and reduce the number of accidents on the roads.

The existing road safety legislation in Bangladesh inadequate to address the current challenges facing the transportation sector. Enacting a new Road Safety Act would provide an opportunity to modernize the legal framework and incorporate provisions that reflect the latest best practices in road safety management.

A new Road Safety Act can strengthen enforcement mechanisms and ensure more effective implementation of traffic laws. This could include measures such as increased fines for traffic violations, stricter penalties for offenders, and the introduction of innovative technologies for monitoring and enforcement.

Enacting a new Road Safety Act can introduce provisions that hold transport operators, drivers, and other stakeholders accountable for their actions and promote a culture of responsibility towards road safety. This could involve measures such as mandatory safety training for drivers, regular vehicle inspections, and stricter licensing requirements.

Bangladesh may have international commitments or obligations to improve road safety as part of its participation in global initiatives or agreements. Enacting a new Road Safety Act would demonstrate the countrys commitment to fulfilling these obligations and contribute to its reputation as a responsible member of the international community.

There may be growing public demand for stronger road safety measures in Bangladesh, driven by concerns about the high rate of accidents and the impact on public health and safety. Enacting a new Road Safety Act in response to this demand would demonstrate the governments responsiveness to the needs and priorities of its citizens.

In Conclusion, given the alarming statistics and the significant toll that road accidents take on both human lives and the economy, enacting a new road safety act in Bangladesh is paramount. A comprehensive and robust legal framework is essential to address the multifaceted challenges posed by road safety issues effectively.

This new legislation should incorporate provisions for stricter enforcement of traffic laws, enhanced penalties for violations, measures to improve road infrastructure and vehicle safety standards, and initiatives to raise public awareness about road safety. The new Road Safety Act should prioritize the protection of vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists, who often bear the brunt of accidents. Additionally, provisions should be included to hold transport operators and drivers accountable for their actions, thereby fostering a culture of responsibility and compliance with road safety regulations. By enacting a new Road Safety Act, the government can demonstrate its commitment to addressing this pressing issue and safeguarding the lives and well-being of its citizens.

The writer is In Charge of City Page at The New Nation

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