IT IS unacceptable that drug abuse by drivers of public transports and privately owned vehicles has for long been overlooked as authorities in Bangladesh have no system to check the issue. In such a situation, although experts blame a large number of fatal accidents on drug abuse, there is no way to establish how many accidents resulted from driver’s drug abuse. The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority takes only a medical test of professional drivers which does not run any tests on drug detection. Traffic police also do not have any system to detect if drivers abuse drugs.
The Motor Vehicles Ordinance 1983 requires professional drivers to submit a medical certificate for driving licence. Bangladesh Road Transport Corporation officials also say that they do not ask for dope test results from the drivers working in the agency. An Accident Research Institute teacher said that he never saw law enforcers taking any eye test, one-leg standing test and walking test of any driver on roads although DMP officials at a meeting in May 2018 said that a large number of transport workers abused drugs. A DMP joint commissioner said that they do not have any active initiative to check if drivers abuse drugs. On special occasions, traffic police used detectors to check the driver’s alcohol level but the machines are also not in use now. The ARI teacher said that transport workers usually abused drugs that helped them to remain awake for a long time but these drugs reduced their capacity to take right decisions and induced them to take risky turns or overtake other vehicles because of over-confidence. In many countries, apart from blood, urine, saliva and hair tests, the police use machines to check the drug-level in driver’s blood. The law enforcement agencies do not have machines to check drug addiction in on-duty drivers but the licensing
authorities cannot avoid their responsibilities of playing a role in this regard.
The authorities are content with checking the fitness of vehicles but they are negligent in checking the fitness of drivers. The government need to realise that proper arrangement of drug test for drivers will ensure their fitness and reduce the number of road accidents to a large extent.
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