The remains of previous accidents at any accident-prone location can increase the severity of subsequent accidents if initiatives are not taken to remove them, says a recent investigation report of Accident Research Institute.
The report also shows that engineering faults, reckless driving and violation of traffic rules play a major role in all such fatal accidents.
Road safety experts said that the authorities should address all the problems at accident-prone spots to avoid subsequent accidents.
A probe by ARI of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology found after a recent fatal accident on Dhaka-Sylhet national highway that the remains of a previous crash played an important role in the death of 10 passengers of a microbus that skidded off the road and hit the roadside tree on March 6 this year.
The turning on the road at Kandigaon area under Nabiganj thana in Habiganj upazila is a high-risk location.
However, the probe team lead by Kazi Md Shifun Newaz, assistant professor of ARI, found that the accident that killed 10 people and critically injured five more.
Though the accident was caused by reckless driving and the tarmac, which was also worn out in places, was also played a role, the remains of a previous accident heightened the impact, increasing the number of deaths.
Earlier, the highway police Gazipur region requested the ARI to investigate the accident. Following the request the institute conducted the probe on August 22 and recently completed the report.
Shifun Newaz said that during the investigation he found that the right side of the microbus hit the tree but he discovered a huge hole on the right-side door of the vehicle, which was the puzzled he had to solve.
Shifun soon discovered that a portion of a steel bumper of another vehicle was stuck on the tree and realised that it testified to a previous accident.
‘When the microbus hit the tree it also hit the bumper that was already stuck there, which intensified the impact of the collision, causing the roof of the microbus to collapse,’ he explained.
‘This remnant from a previous accident increased the impact causing the death of so many passengers,’ he added.
As per the evidence found based on the statements of the witnesses, the police and the field investigators came know that the microbus did not follow the speed limit of 40 kilometres per hour and was running on the wrong lane.
When the driver tried to come back to the right lane, he lost control and the vehicle skidded off the road hitting the roadside tree.
The ARI investigation report also mentions that the turning had no road markings, road signs to caution the drivers on the two-lane highway which has no median.
At the accident spot there was a bridge and a connecting road leading to an adjacent area, which together made the spot very risky.
As per the investigation report, the engineering fault was the main reason behind the fatal accident while the report also blamed the driver for not following the speed limit at the spot.
Meanwhile, the microbus was 11-seated while the number of passengers was 14, excluding the driver.
Moreover, the passengers and the driver were not wearing the seatbelt which could have reduced the number of fatality in the accident, the report claimed.
The institute recommended installation of sufficient road marking and signs at the spot, removal of the bumper from the tree and regular maintenance of the spot.
As for the national highway, ARI also suggested regular maintenance of the highway and a road safety audit for avoiding accidents, especially at accident-prone locations.
Roads and Highways Department Habiganj division office executive engineer Md Sajib Ahamed told New Age on Sunday that he was not aware about such an investigation.
Anyone can investigate individually, but if an investigation comes up with suggestions of amendments, then RHD should be involved during the investigation as the highway is under this department, he added.
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