While there is a an increase in road accident deaths, the government has taken no visible measures to address the issue
Saifur Rahman, executive director of Road Safety Foundation

Even this Friday night, university student Mahadi Hasan (21) was killed in a road accident in the capital city. He had been on a motorcycle when he was hit and killed by a covered van carrying a container on the Dhaka-Mymensingh road. He was a fourth year textile engineering student of Green University.

Students of various educational institutions have been agitating since 18 November, demanding half fare on buses. Then when Notre Dame College student Naim Hasan was killed on 24 November, this became a movement with a 9-point demand for safe roads. In the meantime, on 29 November SSC examinee Mainuddin Islam was killed by a bus in Rampura.

Students continued their agitation yesterday, Saturday. They displayed red cards against corruption on the roads.

Executive director of Road Safety Foundation Saifur Rahman, speaking to Prothom Alo, said truck and motorbike accidents have increased. While there is a an increase in road accident deaths, the government has taken no visible measures to address the issue. The accidents are occurring due to anarchy and mismanagement in the transport sector. The government has a lack of political will in resolving this issue.

Mahadi dies on his bike

Mahadi, who died in a road accident on Friday night, was the second among two brothers and a sister. He would live with his mother and brothers in Kamarpara of Uttara in the city. His elder sister is married. Mahadi was returning home after visiting an unwell relation in Dhanmondi.

Mahadi is from Damdama Paschim village in Panchbibi upazila, Joypurhat. His father Mofazzel Hossain was an army sergeant and after retiring, he works in the security department of a private bank in Chattogram.

Mofazzel Hossain told Prothom Alo that his son Mahadi’s university campus was in Mirpur. He had really wanted a motorbike and so he bought his son a bike for Tk 180,000 about one and a half years ago. He had mortgaged two bighas of land in the village to buy the bike.

Inspector (investigation) of the Dhaka Airport police station, Kazi Kaikobad, speaking to Prothom Alo said that the incident took place at midnight. The young man Mahadi Hasan had died on the spot. He was picked up and sent to the Dhaka Medical College morgue at 1:45am. The driver fled the spot after the accident, but the vehicle was seized.

413 die in November

According to the Road Safety Foundation, 413 persons were killed in 379 accidents in November. That means 14 died per day, on average. This included 58 children. The most accidents and deaths took place in Dhaka division. Of those killed in road accidents in November, 54 were students. In September and October 118 students had been killed in road accidents.

In the capital city Dhaka in November, 16 were killed in 14 accidents. The least road accident deaths occurred in Barishal division. As a single district, the most accidents and deaths took place in Chattogram district.

On 24 November Notre Dame College student Naim Hasan was killed when he was crushed under the wheels of a Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) garbage truck. Speaking to Prothom Alo yesterday, his elder brother Muntasir Mamun said, “Those who lose their dear ones can understand the pain. Our family is devastated. Our parents have broken down. The families of all those killed in road accidents are mentally devastated.”

According to the records, 44 per cent of those killed in road accidents in November were riding motorbikes and 23 per cent were pedestrians. Of the dead, 13 per cent were vehicle drivers and helpers. Most of the death occurred in head-on collisions and when the vehicles lost control. The vehicles mostly involved in such accidents were motorbikes, trucks and buses.

It will not be possible to emerge from this chaos unless initiative is taken to change the entire road management. It is not just a matter of money, but of good governance too. It is the government that must come forward to bring order to the road sector
Moazzem Hossain, former director of BUET’s Accident Research Institute (ARI)

The Road Safety Foundation has come up with a number of recommendations to lessen the number of road accidents, including proper implementation of the Road Safety Act 2018, stopping toll collection in public transport, building up skilled drivers, fixing drivers’ wages and work hours, increasing BRTA’s capacity, construction service roads along the highways for movement of slower vehicles and more.

Former director of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET)’s Accident Research Institute (ARI), Moazzem Hossain, told Prothom Alo that the number of students killed in road accidents is higher as they move around more. It will not be possible to emerge from this chaos unless initiative is taken to change the entire road management. It is not just a matter of money, but of good governance too. It is the government that must come forward to bring order to the road sector.

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