Extension of the on-going traffic week by three more days is claimed to have been made following 'good response from the masses to discipline the chaotic public transport'. Commuters on the capital's roads are unlikely to agree with the Dhaka Metropolitan Police's (DMP's) contention. Nor do the pictures carried in newspapers subscribe to this view. Traffic chaos relapsed into old ways with lackadaisical vehicles like one's picture this newspaper carried on its Sunday issue making their rounds all the same. Even a man was killed near Gulistan zero point on August 12 by a speeding bus. What is more, a bus hit the home minister's car in the city. But this is not just a capital-centric traffic week, but a national traffic week. And the country-wide count does not quite go with a disciplined traffic week. Nine people were perished under the wheels of vehicles in six districts on Saturday alone.
After the unprecedented school and college students' demonstration for road safety, this traffic week should have scored a few notable points. But largely it has failed to impress upon the transport operators the urgent need for following traffic rules and discipline themselves. In one case, for example, a bus driver - sleepy as he was - drove his bus off the road with two scores of passengers. One passenger was killed when the bus turned on its side. Others survived the accident with injuries. Now the question is, was the driver overworked or simply physically unfit for the job? There should be a regular check-up of physical condition of drivers driving public transports. Then again, has the traffic week made it a point to ensure that a driver does not drive public buses or goods truck for more than six hours at a stretch as the Prime Minister has suggested? Drivers must have adequate rest and sleep.
On the other hand, some basic issues of traffic management remain out of sight as if those are no longer of any use. But without minding those, the DMP or the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) cannot make any progress. The first thing is to designate the bus stops without which no passenger can be picked or dropped. Passenger sheds built earlier are now used as shops. How can this happen, who realises rent from those? Just probe into it and an ugly truth will come out.
It is hardly any secret that the officials who are responsible for issuing licences or other documents for drivers and vehicles have long been involved in malpractices. Meanwhile, drivers and vehicle owners have learnt the tricks of acquiring fake documents. When the authorities themselves are at fault, the whole system breaks down. Let the authorities put their house in order first, then go for streamlining the traffic system on roads. Things will definitely improve.
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