On 18 January, Prothom Alo reported that an ambulance hit a moving truck from behind in front of the Padma Bridge toll plaza in Shariatpur's Zajira. A part of the ambulance went under the truck. The police said that the driver was tired from driving the ambulance for 26 hours in addition to reckless speed. Lutfunnahar Lima, a computer engineer living in Florida, was taking her ailing mother from Barishal to Dhaka for treatment. The mother and daughter, the driver and his assistant and all those in the ambulance were killed in the accident.
According to the family of the deceased driver Rabiul Islam, the police said that he went to Bhola with a patient from Dhaka the previous night. The next night he met with an accident on his way back from Barishal with a patient. The owner of the ambulance said he had only one ambulance and he hired only one driver to run it.
What is the registration process for operating an ambulance? Despite repeated requests from concerned persons, no regulations have been drawn up regarding running an ambulance service.
In 2018, after the student movement demanding safe roads, the five-point instructions given by the prime minister's office to restore order on the roads clearly prioritised the issue of driver safety. Those instructions include employing alternate drivers on long-haul routes, so that a driver does not have to drive for more than five hours at a stretch, and setting up service centers or resting rooms for drivers at fixed distances. None of those guidelines has been followed even after more than four years. On the contrary, disorder has spiked on the roads. As a result, accidents and loss of lives have increased. According to the Road Safety Foundation and Jatri Kalyan Samity report, 2022 saw maximum deaths on roads.
There is no alternative to establishing order and good governance on the roads to prevent accidents and loss of life. Much of the safety of passengers and pedestrians depends on the driver. Nobody should put excessive burden on drivers just to earn extra profit at the risk of people’s lives. How many more lives will be lost like this? The rules for drivers to not drive more than five consecutive hours and eight hours in a day must be implemented.