Over speed and unskilled drivers still remain the main reasons behind road accidents across the country, government officials and road safety experts say.
Driving without rest, driver’s trip-based salary system, illegal microbus service on the highways under the control of influential people and poor maintenance of long-route vehicles also contribute to these accidents, they find.
In most of these cases, passengers and drivers of small and light vehicles become victims.
Highway police deputy inspector general Md Atiqul Islam has told New Age that it will require to a lot more work to bring down the number of road accident victims drastically.
In this circumstance, government authorities and Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology are going to take two new projects aimed at checking over speed on highways and developing training facilities for drivers and instructors.
According to BUET’s Accident Research Institute, drivers’ role continues to be the main reason behind road accidents amid a lack of skilled and trained drivers.
It says that over speed is the main reason behind 43 per cent highway accidents while it is the second main reason for 31 per cent highway accidents.
Motor vehicles, especially buses, ran at over 100 kilometres/per hour even at turning points, the institute’s research shows.
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, there are 127 registered driving training schools and 167 licensed instructors for about 20 lakh drivers in the country against about 31.5 lakh registered motor vehicles.
DIG Atiqul Islam says that they want to promote safe vehicles, especially buses, and discourage small vehicles on highways.
He said many private microbuses were running illegally on highways and inter-district routes without proper maintenance and with tired and exhausted drivers.
‘People want to earn somehow but they should also understand the risks involved in the business,’ he observed.
New Age correspondent in Sylhet reports that private microbuses are running on a commercial basis on Dhaka-Sylhet, Sylhet-Sunamganj, Sylhet-Tamabeel, Sylhet-Habiganj, Sylhet-Jokiganj and Sylhet-Moulvibazar highways.
New Age correspondent in Munshiganj reports that microbus service from Kathalbari pontoon to Barisal, Narail, Khulna and Faridpur
areas are being illegally run by local political leaders and activists.
According to World Health Organisation’s Road Safety in the South-East Asia Region 2015 report, a total of 41 per cent of road users killed in road accidents are passengers (28 per cent) and drivers (13 per cent) of cars and microbuses.
BUET ARI director Professor Moazzem Hossain said there was no efficient system to control speed on highways.
When a bus and microbus collides, people on microbuses face the greater impact as the vehicle is small in size, the teacher says.
He informed that they were taking two projects to control vehicles’ speed on highways and develop training facilities for drivers.
Nirapad Sarak Chai chairman Ilias Kanchan said the bus and microbus drivers were not properly trained and who were in most case strained in their bid to cover as many trips as possible due to trip-based salary system.
‘Law enforcers often let go private microbus running commercially on highways in exchange for money, without taking punitive step,’ he alleged.
BRTA secretary Muhammad Showkat Ali admitted that a huge number of private microbuses were running commercially.
According to BRTA, the number of road accidents and causalities are increasing as in 2016 a total of 2,463 people were killed in 2,566 accidents while in 2015 a total of 2,376 people were killed in 2,394 accidents.
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