'Road crashes snatch 224 lives during Eid holidays'

Prothom Alo English Desk | Update:

Members of Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a passengers` welfare platform, speak in a press conference at Dhaka Reporters` Unity (DRU) in the capital on 18 Aug, 2019. Photo: Ahmed Deepto

At least 224 people were killed and 886 others injured in 203 road accidents across the country in 12 days before and after the Eid-ul-Azha, said Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a passengers' welfare platform, on Sunday.

According to UNB, the road accidents took place on different national and regional highways from 6 to 17 August, says a report prepared by the organisation.

Of the total dead and injured, 37 were drivers while three transport workers, 70 women, 22 children, 42 students, 3 journalists, 2 physicians, 8 law enforcers, 3 politicians and 900 others pedestrians.

Placing the report at a press conference at Dhaka Reporters' Unity (DRU) in the city, Jatri Kalyan Samity secretary general Mozammel Haque Chowdhury said the number of road crashes and casualties saw a drop during this Eid vacation than that of the last year.

During the Eid-ul-Azha last year, he said around 259 people were killed and 960 injured in 237 road accidents in 13 days.

Mozammel said they prepared the statistics based on different reports published in 41 national dailies, regional newspapers and 11 online news portals.

Besides, he said, 13 people were killed and 15 injured in train-related incidents while 16 died, 27 sustained injuries and 59 went missing in 24 accidents in waterways during the period.

Mozammel said the road condition was relatively better this year than that of the last year while some new launches were added to the existing fleet and some new trains introduced and compartments added before the Eid vacation.

However, he said, the sufferings of passengers increased this year due to charging extra fare, tailbacks on roads and highways, train schedule collapse and black marketing of tickets and chaos at ferry terminals.

Among the deaths in road accidents, the Jatri Kalyan Samity secretary general said 52.21 per cent were of pedestrians who were run over by vehicles while 34.37 were of motorbike riders.

He said the 85.21 per cent road accidents will be possible to control during the next Eid only by curbing motorbike accidents and running over the pedestrians by vehicles.

Of the 203 road accidents, Mozammel said 27.4 per cent caused by buses, 26.33 per cent by motorbikes, 16.4 per cent by trucks, pickup vans, covered vans and lorries, 7.82 per cent by microbus and cars, 13.52 per cent by auto-rickshaws, 3.55 per cent by human-haulers and 4.98 per cent by battery-run rickshaws and easy-bikes.

He said the plying of vehicles without fitness, reckless and nonstop driving, unskilled drivers and their assistants, plying of slow-moving three-wheelers and human-haulers on highways, using motorbikes for long journeys and lack of sufficient footpaths are the main reasons behind the accidents.

The Samity put forward some recommendations to reduce the road accidents.

These include modernising the process of training drivers, issuing license and fitness certificate, introducing digital traffic system, building National Road Safety Council as an effective body to check road crashes, setting up a driver training centre at the national level to create skilled drivers, arranging adequate quality transport to deal with overcrowding, arranging separate lanes for slow-moving and high-speeding vehicles on highways, implementing the government decision to stop the plying of unfit, and risky vehicles, ensuring the movement of passers-by through creating footpaths, underpasses and overpasses on highways and implementing the recommendations formulated to ensure road safety.

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