Road disorder needs implementation of law, monitoring

EditorialProthom Alo illustration

Recurring accidents indicate the extent of disorder on the roads. In every accident, people die, are injured and suffer. The cries of the victim's families fail to wake the authorities.

When there’s an accident, transport owner and worker associations try to evade liabilities right away. The authorities too start coming up with various excuses. But, the situation doesn’t change.

Within several hours of Prothom Alo publishing a report in this regard on 22 March, two secretaries along with BRTA and BRTC chairmen tried defending themselves, holding a press conference.

They claimed the information published in the report isn’t entirely true. They didn’t point out where were the mistakes though.

Prothom Alo’s report didn’t deny that the road transport and bridges ministry had some degree of success. They have executed many projects including the Padma Bridge and the Metrorail; and many projects are still underway.

Prothom Alo didn’t raise questions about these. It questioned the disorder on the roads alongside the climbing number of accidents and the escalating death tolls.

Two secretaries of the road transport and bridges divisions claimed that carelessness on pedestrians’ parts and inexpert motorcyclists are causing more accidents.

This isn’t the sole reason behind deaths and accidents on the roads. The road transport ministry is working to improve and perfect the roads. We are not denying that either.

But we must raise questions about unfit vehicles running on the roads and how people without licences are driving. When it comes to examining the vehicles, they talk about inadequate workforce. But deaths on the road cannot go on for that reason.

Directives of the prime minister herself about how many hours a driver can drive without break are not being followed. This cannot be blamed on the passengers, pedestrians or the public.

The driver of the Imad Paribahan bus that fell into an accident at Kutubpur area on the Dhaka-Mawa expressway killing 19 people recently was driving in a sleep deprived condition.  The driver was extremely exhausted from driving more than 30 hours within 48 hours.

Driver of the ambulance that had an accident on the same expressway last January on its way from Barisal while six people were killed had been at the steering wheel for 18 hours straight.

In these cases, the severe lack of monitoring from BRTA and road transport ministry to an extent that should be there cannot help making the citizens of this country worried.

The goal of Prothom Alo’s report was not putting the road transport ministry on the criminal stand.

Its target is to remove the weaknesses and shortcomings there are in following the road transport law and bringing order on the streets.

A group of transport owners and labour leaders had created a ruckus about the road transport act. They don’t even think it through that disorder on the streets kills transport drivers and staff too.

We believe to make road transport safe, alongside implementing the motor vehicle act from 2018, the mafia syndicate that has imposed a strong hold on this sector has to be uprooted as well.

This syndicate not only has the passengers held hostage, they have led general transport workers towards death also. If there’s order on the streets, commuters, transport owners and labourers everybody will be safe.

On this issue, there’s no alternative to proper implementation of law, suitable punishment for people breaking the law and increasing monitoring of the concerned authorities.