One issue we have written about extensively is the lack of road safety in Bangladesh and the authorities’ continued indifference towards it. While the student road safety movement in late 2018 prompted the government to enact the Road Transport Act 2018, it was not until November 2019 that the law came into force. And yet the reports of continued crashes and casualties show just how poorly it is implemented. For example, according to the law, no driver can drive a vehicle if he is not in possession of a letter of appointment from the recruiting transport owner. This directive, like many others, is widely ignored as bus/truck owners recruit drivers daily.

Another failed move by the government was to form a “high-level task force”, headed by the interior minister, which remains ineffective to this day. Its slow pace and lack of any sense of urgency contrasts sharply with the rapid march of the dead on our roads. According to a police report, 2021 saw the number of accidents and fatalities increase by 30% compared to 2020.

As we know, the most common reasons for the increase are faulty vehicles, reckless driving, tailgating, non-compliance with traffic laws, etc. But these are only symptoms of the disease that is the lack of seriousness of the authorities to ensure road safety. . Since its formation in October 2019, the aforementioned working group has repeatedly reflected on the same nine decisions, with only one decision – appointing a focal person from four relevant ministries to oversee the implementation of the other decisions – being fully implemented in order to far. Surely we would have seen an improvement in terms of road safety if the task force had been proactive and fast as it was supposed to be?

Given that accidents and fatalities on our roads still occur every day, we hope that the task force, which was due to meet on Sunday, will give us solid answers on why it was not able to implement its decisions over the past two years. years, along with a timetable showing when and how he actually intends to take action that will make our roads safe. We will also ask the working group to prioritize the implementation of decisions that will have a direct and immediate impact, such as the ban on driving vehicles without a license or underage. Road deaths, avoidable as they are, are too frequent to justify their lax attitude.

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