TRAFFIC accidents have never stopped taking place. Only their number and severity, with the associated casualties, increase when there is rush, the time around Eid being a case in point. At least 16 apparel workers, bound for outlying areas to spend Eid with family and friends, died when a truck laden with cement, which was carrying the workers, overturned. While the truck should not have carried passengers, the person who was driving the truck, as New Age reported, was the driver’s assistant, suggesting his lack in skills. The driver put his assistant in the driver’s seat after crossing Bangabandhu Bridge on the Dhaka-Rangpur Highway. This points to failures of the authorities concerned in traffic law enforcement. This also points to two other issues. The workers who died in such a manner may not have the money, because of their poor pay, to buy tickets for better transports and they may not have been given the festival allowance well before Eid enough to buy tickets for better transports, which have sold out their tickets earlier. With this being a case in example among many others, the government is also left with attending to the issues of payment, especially of the workers, who are paid poorly.
Traffic accidents also keep taking place because of reckless driving, underage driving, flaws in road layout which include dangerous bends and turns, delayed and hasty maintenance which means potholes and crates being left as death traps, weak law enforcement, overcrowding and other such issues. In the time around this Eid, three-day Eid holidays and a couple of days before, more than 60 people — the number could be higher though — died in road accidents across the country. The number of casualties is high as the rush on the road was heavy. With such a large number of people moving from one place to another, every transport tries to overtake the other on the road so that more trips could be made; transport owners employ underaged, unskilled and unlicensed people in driving for profit maximisation. The rush on the road being so heavy, the poor road condition, exacerbated by continual rainfall caused by depressions, only added to the casualties. While the government has seemingly failed, despite its rhetoric about keeping the roads in a good condition, to stop traffic accidents by way of not maintaining the roads as and when needed and not enforcing the traffic laws stringently enough, it also seems to have no long-term plans on how to handle the rush of several million people travelling from one place to another, mostly long distances, in such a short time.
The government, under the circumstances, must assess how many people could travel at Eid time and how many transports should be there at Eid time to work out plans to handle this rush. The government must also strictly enforce traffic rules so that travel by the road could be safe, not only at Eid time but also at other times of the year.
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