Despite recent student protests for safe roads, the government is yet to bring discipline to the transport sector, according to observers.
Deaths in road crashes are still an everyday phenomenon
A single road accident claimed lives of 15 people in Natore after Eid-ul-Azha.
As many as 8,978 people died in 549 days in road crashes across Bangladesh till 27 August, 2018.
In the wake of scores of deaths on roads, the government has decided to enforce at least 20 measures including ban on three wheelers and slow-moving vehicles on highways.
The decisions were taken on Monday in the 42nd meeting of the Road Transport Advisory Council (RTAC) chaired by road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader.
After the two-hour-long RTAC meeting, minister Quader briefed journalists about the decisions taken in the meeting.
Some of the decisions are:
i) Banning slow-moving vehicles like easybike, battery-run rickshaw, Nasiman, Kariman, and human hauler (Leguna) on highways;
ii) Implementing the High Court's directive on non-mechanised vehicles from highways;
iii) Asking the committee, headed by the road transport and highways division's additional secretary Abdul Malek, to submit its report by 20 September to formulate necessary rules to ban plying of easybikes on highways;
iv) Writing official letter to the commerce ministry to control import of spare parts of easybikes and battery-run rickshaws;
v) Forming a Regional Transport Committee (RTC) in each region to ensure road safety;
vi) Removing illegal angles, hooks and bumpers from buses, trucks and covered-vans;
vii) Continuing the ongoing BRTA drive, 'Crush Programme' against unfit vehicles;
viii) Banning stickers, monograms and flagstands used in vehicles;
ix) Prohibiting use of 'beckon lights' indiscriminately;
x) Removing the current contractual payment system for city bus drivers;
xi) Painting and beautifying all buses plying Dhaka streets by 30 September;
xii) Assigning Dhaka South City Corporation mayor Sayeed Khokon with the task of a modern public transport system in the capital as envisioned by late Dhaka North City Corporation mayor Annisul Huq;
xiii) Fixing the highest speed limit on highways at 80 kilometres per hour;
xiv) Constructing rest rooms along different highways;
Apart from these measures, the meeting decided to implement several decisions taken in the 41st meeting of the RTAC last year, including banning CNG-run small vehicles like unregistered Nasiman, Kariman, Bhotbhoti, and easybike on 22 highways.
When asked if many of these steps were taken earlier, minister Obaidul Quader said to newsmen, "It's not possible to ban slow-moving vehicles on highways overnight. But, there have been a lot of improvements."
Shipping minister Shajahan Khan, state minister for rural development and co-operatives division Mashiur Rahman, and DNCC mayor Sayeed Khokon were also present in the meeting.
Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) professor and its Accident Research Institute (ARI) director Moazzem Hossain told Prothom Alo that these decisions would not work unless necessary steps are taken to implement them.