Traffic accidents have become a never-ending tale. The government off and on takes initiatives but most of them almost always have fallen flat. Road accidents keep taking place, when there is rush on the roads, such as at Eid time, and where there is no such rush, any time of the year. The figure of road accident deaths, depending on the organisations that count them, vary, some time increasing and decreasing at other times, by wide or small margins, the accident fatality rate has remained high. The accident fatality rate has for some years been around or more than 50 deaths per 10,000 motor vehicles, said to be very high, even one of the highest in developing countries, by international standards. Many of such road accident deaths could be avoided by way of a better transport planning by the government, coupled with increased awareness of road accidents. Whatever steps the government might take to reduce road accidents, awareness among the people, both drivers and passengers, is of utmost importance. Government officials and rights activists, therefore, rightly pointed out at a programme in Dhaka, as New Age reported on Wednesday, that awareness among transport workers, owners and ordinary people could significantly reduce the number of road accidents.
A large number of accidents that usually take place could be avoided if owners and drivers of vehicles and passengers could be aware of road discipline. While the government seems to have failed to discipline the road sector adequately, it appears to have failed to create the required awareness among the people. Road sector experts, rights activists and researchers think that a major reason for accidents is the reckless driving and violation of traffic rules and regulations. And all these could be avoided with a bit more intensified awareness campaign by the government. The passengers also insist drivers sometimes to use wrong lane as well as in the cities they try to ride on buses desperately, risking their own lives. In addition, experts have pointed out that many government initiatives, especially some irresponsible remarks from minister level of the government in past, also created obstacles to increase public awareness against road accidents. While owners asked drivers of their vehicles to drive fast to make more trips, which means more money, people sometimes ask drivers to run fast. There have also been cases of underage driving, which the owners should stop. Cases are not also rare in which owners force drivers to work beyond working hours, which entails high risk of accidents mostly because of sleep deprivation.
The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, or the government that is, therefore, must take up drivers education programme and public awareness campaign to avoid many of the accidents that usually take place. And the efforts should continue round-the-year for years.
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