Saturday, 15 June, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Battery-run rickshaw drivers need to be trained

Published : Thursday, 23 May, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 268

This is concerning that amid surging road mishaps, battery-run rickshaws and easy bikes have been allowed to ply some selective streets in the already highly congested Dhaka city which has now an estimated 17.8 lakh registered motor vehicles.

This decision may exacerbate the traffic congestion further and increase the road fatalities as several hundred thousand battery-run rickshaws will now start roaming on the city roads with mostly unskilled and untrained drivers on the steering seats.

As per some accounts, over six million such low-cost battery-run rickshaws have been operating across the country.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday directed to allow battery-run rickshaws on the city streets considering the sufferings of the low-income people induced by rising commodity prices.

Earlier, drivers of these transportation modes were continuing demonstrations on the city streets for two days, protesting the government crackdown on their vehicles. A good number of protesting drivers were arrested while they were vandalizing vehicles and torching a police box.

This is true that after this announcement manually-pulled rickshaw drivers will highly benefit as they are allowed to transform their vehicles into battery-run ones. This will reduce their physical toiling and increase their earnings too.

But rampant use of battery-charged rickshaws and easy bikes in the city and elsewhere in the country will surely make our roads insecure. This is mainly attributed to the facts that these rickshaws usually run faster than physically-pulled ones and their drivers have little or no knowledge about traffic rules and guidelines.

As a result, widespread use of these battery-operated vehicles would definitely raise the traffic deaths which have already shown an upward trajectory every month. For instance, over 708 people died from 683 road crashes in April against 565 deaths in 552 road accidents in the previous month.  

During the whole year of 2023, a total of 7,902 people were killed in 6,261 road accidents as compared to 9,951 deaths from 6,749 road mishaps in the preceding year. This gives us an alarming message that every year, thousands of people lost their lives in road accidents.  

What are the reasons that caused many valuable lives lost on the streets? Shipping and Communications Reporters Forum has identified 16 key reasons behind the major road casualties. Among them, unfit vehicles, unskilled drivers, reckless driving and violations of traffic rules are prominent.

Irregularities, corruption of traffic police, extortion from vehicles at different terminals and on several roads, including highways and last but not least, lack of awareness and knowledge about traffic laws among both general public and drivers are some other reasons that caused road accidents.

We call on the authority concerned to train the battery-run rickshaw drivers before letting their vehicles ply the city streets.

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