Death toll from road crashes rises

Published: March 24, 2019 18:20:02 | Updated: March 25, 2019 09:26:20

The number of road accidents and deaths has increased over the past four years, according to the statistics from police, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of BUET.

The statistics provided by the ARI has higher numbers of accidents and deaths comparing to the statistics from the police and BRTA.

The number of highway accidents and deaths has decreased, but the total numbers have increased throughout the country.

At least 1,773 persons died in highway accidents in 2015, 1,769 persons died in 2016, 1,601 in 2017 and 1,439 in 2018, according to the ARI.

The ARI prepares its data based on news of road accidents published by the media, which differs from the one provided by the police, BUET Assistant Professor Kazi Md Shifun Newaz and ARI researcher told bdnews24.com.

“Police form their database only from the cases and FIRs filed on the road accidents. But most road accidents are reported in the media, irrespective of whether cases have been filed or not. That’s why our data shows more road accidents. We receive information from the police too,” he said.

The number of road accident across the country are rising as changes recommended at different points have never been implemented, said the assistant professor.

“It is really important to introduce franchising to bus routes in Dhaka. We had recommended this several times, but it was never implemented,” he said.

“And the speed of vehicles travelling on the highways should be reduced. There should be digital technologies to compel the drivers to reduce speed, technology that will enable the police to collect information when a driver is speeding.”

The experts should be consulted while implementing the recommendations, said Kazi Shifun Newaz.

Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, general secretary of the Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, said he could not identify any earnest initiatives by the government to limit the number of road accidents.

“We don’t see any effective measure to limit road accidents. The road transportation system runs by the grace of Allah. There has been no visible initiative taken even after two phase of movements for safer roads. All they have are empty words. Can they reduce the number of accidents by just calling council meetings at the Secretariat? They need to work on the issue.”

Atiqul Islam, deputy inspector general of highway police, objected to the characterisation.

“We are preventing accidents. We have reduced the number from 1,700 to 1,400 in the last four years. The number of accidents on the highway fell after we took a few measures. I believe it will reduce further,” he told bdnews24.com.

The number of accidents has reduced as light vehicles like the easybike and autorickshaw have been barred from the highways, said the police official. But the number of light vehicles has increased in urban areas, escalating the number accidents there, he said.

“These vehicles are responsible for many deaths in road accidents. There will be more accidents on the roads if the number of these vehicles increases. Therefore, the only way to prevent road accident is to increase the number of heavy vehicles and reduce the number of light ones.”

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