Lorry overturns: Who is responsible for negligence in road repairs?

Bringing people who are responsible for recurrent accidents to book is solely the government’s responsibility

Our roads are turning deadlier with every passing day. As of now we have seen deaths in road accidents due to reckless driving or in head-on collisions between two vehicles. But it seems deaths in road accidents are unavoidable even if the drivers, passengers and passers-by remain cautious. Otherwise, how could one explain the death of three people and injuries of another seven in a fire that broke out when an oil tank lorry overturned on Dhaka-Aricha highway Tuesday?

Like many others, those people also were on the roads for different purposes. But their purposes remain unfulfilled. Instead they burned in fire on the road.

Witnesses and fire service officials said when an oil tank lorry overturned on Dhaka-Aricha highway, the oil spilled. This led to a breakout of fire to two nearby trucks, a covered van and a car. Some 10 passengers and transport workers sustained burn injuries in the incident. The lorry overturned as it could not avoid a concrete block in the Jorpul area of Savar around 5:30 am.

Road Transport and Highways Division has been constructing a U-turn in the area of the highway. The division’s Dhaka region additional engineer Sabuj Khan told Prothom Alo that the construction work of Jorpul U-turn is in the initial stage. Neither any safety sign has been installed there nor any light so that transport drivers and workers could be aware of the ongoing construction work in the area.

How is it possible? Failure to install any safety sign and light at a construction site on the very busy Dhaka-Savar highway is not only negligence, rather we consider this an unpardonable crime.

RHD officials tried to establish a narrative that the lorry driver lost control over the steering but neither the police, nor the fire service officials and witnesses supported that.

Why was there no any safety signpost or light installed on the construction site of the U-turn? Are the RHD officials unaware that the scope of danger is created when the width of the road narrows or the blocks cannot be seen from afar due to lack of light?

This is not an accident, rather this is simply inviting an accident.

Many people had to die due to the negligence of the Road Transport and Highways Division in the past too. Are the lives of the people of Bangladesh so valueless that they will have to face either death or burn injuries just if they go outside?

Experts say that issuing a note of warning beforehand is essential if any change is introduced in such infrastructures. If that is not done, the relevant organisation will have to bear the responsibility of any accident.

The child who was coming to Dhaka from Barguna with his father is now suffering from an unbearable pain of burn injuries at hospital. What is the explanation for such a man-made accident?

Maybe the Road Transport and Highways Division will investigate the incident with an intention to shift blame on others. But we hope there will be a neutral and credible investigation of the incident where three people died because of some people’s negligence.

Bringing people who are responsible for recurrent accidents to book is solely the government’s responsibility.