WRONG-WAY driving continues to be a nagging problem of traffic management in the capital Dhaka as this adds to the risk of fatal accidents and happens to be a major factor contributing to traffic congestion. The traffic wing of the Dhaka Metropolitan Police, as New Age reported on Thursday, continues filing cases against the offenders but there has hardly been any significant improvement in the situation. The report says that the traffic management authorities file about 900 cases on an average a day in cases of wrong-way driving. Records further show that the traffic management personnel have filed, on an average, more than 3,500 cases a day for the past few days for the violation of traffic rules in the capital city and the highest number of cases, about 1,000, have on an average been filed against errant motorcyclists for running on the footpath and also going the wrong way. The authorities have, as a release said, also realised Tk 2.88 million in financial penalty from people breaking the traffic rules.
Despite such penalties, no visible improvement in the situation warrants that the authorities should find the right way to deal with wrong-way driving and other traffic offences. The road safety campaign that school and college students carried out in late July and early August brought to the fore an attitude of people, more in cases of people staying higher up in the administration, not to comply with traffic rules and to go the wrong way in cases the regular lane remains crowded with vehicles. Vehicles of government agencies, the law enforcement agencies included, are reported to have driven the wrong way that time and it caused quite a stir in society. About four months after the campaign, such a high number of cases being filed over wrong-way driving shows that nothing has improved. There are many traffic issues that warrant money and additional involvement of the agencies if the authorities want to sort them out. But efforts to stop wrong-way driving warrants nothing of this sort. Yet, efforts targeting wrong-way driving not paying off means that there might be some problems that the government has so far overlooked. No or poor enforcement of the rules is certainly a case in point. In this case, the government should make people in charge of enforcing the rules and the law behave. But the punishment that the rules and the law provision for might not be adequately deterrent. In this case, the government should revise the rules and associated penalty so that the law and the rules work.
The government must, under the circumstances, first look into if the rules and the laws are stringently enforced and go for punishment of relevant people in cases of enforcement failure. It must then look into if the rules and the laws are equipped enough to deterrently stop the menace of wrong-way driving and other traffic rule violations and revise the rules and the laws accordingly. It must also run campaigns to make people aware
of the danger of traffic rule violation.
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