Bangladesh government must get down to work on road safety now

Published: 00:00, Sep 07,2019 | Updated: 23:37, Sep 06,2019


THE government and its agencies keep forming committees and task forces one after another on road safety while road safety remains elusive, with people coming to die in road accidents almost every day. The government has set up many committees and task forces to make recommendations on road safety and private groups have also come up with numerous recommendations for the government on road safety but they all have largely been ignored. The National Road Safety Council on Thursday set up a task force, with the home minister as its head, to implement the 111 recommendations that another high-powered committee, set up earlier by the council, made on April 28 on disciplining the road sector and contain accidents. The council meeting at hand set up another committee involving three ministers to make recommendations on the implementation of the Road Transport Act 2018 and the incorporation into it the demands of transport owners and workers. Experts, however, doubt whether the task force or the committee would play any effective role in resolving problems of the road sector and in disciplining road traffic.

The road transport and bridges minister, who also heads the National Road Safety Council, at the meeting at hand, admitted that the implementation of the recommendations was slow and limited. Such an admission from a person tasked to ensure the implementation of road safety directives is an embarrassment. Police records show that 2,635 died and 1,920 became injured in 2,609 accidents in 2018. Even on Thursday, eight, including four transport workers, died and six became wounded in road accidents in different areas of the country. Issues such as the training of drivers and awareness of passengers, proper engineering skills in road infrastructure, the establishment of bus stoppage and bus bays, proper lane dividers, level crossing management and the introduction of bus route franchise in the capital city which could contain traffic accidents have for long been in conversations, yet nothing has happened, letting chaos on the road to continue as ever.

What the government now needs to do, under the circumstances, is to implement the recommendations, worked on laboriously and advised by one committee or the other in the past. The government must immediately frame rules and regulations for the implementation of the road transport law and stringently enforce the law without letting any leniency to creep in. All agencies concerned must work with accountability for a sustainable development of the road sector.

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