Monday, April 22, 2024

Rash driving puts people’s lives in peril

Nine people are killed daily
Reckless driving by a legion of greenhorn drivers has shot up the number of road accidents in the country, but due to lack of enforcement of rules and no real punishment for killing people on the roads, careless drivers are still at large on the roads, experts observed. Data from the Accident Research Institute (ARI) of the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) show a gradual slump in the rate of road accidents, in the past three years. In 2008, on average, 10 people were killed in road accidents every day, while the numbers were seven and six in 2009 and 2010, respectively.
An investigation (based on media reports), however, found that from January 1, 2012, till May 12, 2012, on average, nine people were killed in road accidents every day.
Aggregating the number of deaths in road accidents reported in the media, The Independent found that a total of 1,238 people had died in 696 accidents, during the period mentioned.
Analysing those media reports, it was found that in most cases accidents had occurred due to reckless driving.
Talking with The Independent, professor of civil engineering at BUET and the founder-director of the ARI, Prof. Dr Mazharul Haq said that the rate of road accidents in the country would never reduce unless the government take some serious measures against reckless drivers.
“When you know that the maximum punishment for killing people in a road accident is a three-year jail term, you don’t have accountability,” he said.
“Sadly, the killer drivers don’t even go through that punishment. During my incumbency at the ARI, I never heard of any incident where a killer driver was awarded a jail term,” he said.
Minister of communications Obaidul Quader, on February 1, 2012, had said in Parliament that the number of road accidents would not decrease till rash and unskilled driving were stopped.
“How can we control road accidents, when drivers consider themselves kings of roads while driving their vehicles?” an apparently disappointed Quader had said.
“Merely upgrading highways to eight or 12 or 16 lanes will not help reduce road accidents, if we fail to identify unfit vehicles and continue to issue fake driving licences,” the minister observed.
Interestingly, in August last year, the government had planned to enact a more stringent new motor vehicles law, with provisions of non-bailable arrest and even capital punishment, to curb reckless driving.
The proposed Motor Vehicles Act was supposed to replace the 70-year-old Motor Vehicle Ordinance, with a provision at section 304(A), which says, “Whoever causes the death of any person by doing any rash or negligent act not amounting to culpable homicide shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years to 10 years with fine, or both.”
Unfortunately, almost nine months have passed since then, but the enactment of the law is still stuck in red tape.
Meanwhile, the High Court (HC) had expressed concern over the growing number of road accidents and asked the government to take measures to ensure road safety across the country.
In a report submitted before the HC, on November 13 last year, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) said that a total 2.35 lakh heavy transport vehicle (HTV) driving licences were issued till June last year, of whom, 1.89 lakh did not qualify through the standard procedure.
BRTA chairman Md Ayubur Rahman Khan submitted the report to the HC, wherein, it was mentioned that the below-par drivers had been issued licences on “relaxed conditions”.
In 2009, as many as 10,000 driving licences—most of them for HTVs—were issued under relaxed conditions, in line with the recommendations of Driving Competency Test Board (DCTB), according to the BRTA report.
On August 17 last year, the HC, in an interim order, directed the government to submit a comprehensive report before it, on the measures taken in the past five years, to repair roads and highways, prevent road accidents, and ensure road safety across the country.
The court also asked the government to explain, within six weeks, its failure to conduct proper investigation into road accidents, and why it should not be directed to prosecute and punish people responsible for the accidents.
The HC bench, comprising Justice Mirza Hussain Haider and Justice Md Nuruzzaman, issued the rule, in response to a writ petition filed as a public interest litigation following the death of eminent filmmaker Tareque Masud and broadcast journalist Ashfaque Mishuk Munier, in a road accident.
The HC had said that the report must mention the number of licences issued for heavy and light vehicles, and their drivers, in the past five years, whether fitness of the vehicles and physical fitness of the drivers were checked and the criteria for issuance of the licences, the number of licences renewed in the last two years and the criteria for their renewal.
The HC also wanted to know how many cases were filed regarding road accidents and how many were punished in those cases, in 2010 and 2011.
According to media reports, BRTA had issued licences in 2009 flouting legal procedures under pressure from shipping minister Shahjahan Khan and that he is now pressing for 24,500 more such licences.
In this respect, the BRTA authorities admitted that the Bangladesh Sarak Sramik Federation had submitted, to them, around 24,000 applications for driving licences under relaxed conditions, but no action was taken in this regard by the road division of the communications ministry or the BRTA.

-With The Independent input

Related News

bKash communications chief Mahfuz Sadique dies at 40

News Desk : Mahfuz Sadique, chief communications officer of mobile financial services firm bKash, passed away in Bangladesh capital Dhaka Friday morning. He was 40. Mahfuz died around 9:00am while undergoing treatment at a hospital in the capital, bKash said in a statement. Mahfuz, who began his career as a journalist at New Age, ... Read more

Prices for potatoes increase by 229% from the previous year

Prices for potatoes varied from Tk16 to Tk22 per kg at this time last year. News Desk : Despite the presence of both new and old potatoes in the market, potato prices have soared by 229% compared to late December last year. According to the Trading Corporation of Bangladesh (TCB), the selling price for ... Read more

LGED engineer dead, UNO among 3 injured in Panchagarh car crash

News Desk : An engineer of the Local Government Engineering Department (LGED) was killed and three other government officials were injured when the vehicle of a UNO hit a roadside tree in Panchagarh Sadar upazila early today. The deceased was identified as Abu Sayed, 33, upazila engineer of LGED from Pirganj upazila of Thakurgaon. ... Read more

UNHCR calls for rescue of Rohingyas stranded in Andaman Sea

News Desk : The United Nations (UN) Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has made an urgent appeal to all countries in the region, particularly those in the area surrounding the Andaman Sea, to swiftly deploy their full search and rescue capacities in response to reported vessels in distress with hundreds of Rohingya at risk of perishing. ... Read more

Over 200 RMG workers injured in Comilla while evacuating factory during earthquake

News Desk : Over two hundred garment workers in Cumilla’s Chauddagram have been injured while trying to evacuate the factory building of Amir Shirt Garment Limited during today’s earthquake. A 5.5 magnitude earthquake at a depth of 10km jolted Dhaka, and parts of the country at 9:35am today (2 December). The epicentre of the ... Read more

Daughter hacked father to death in Chattogram

News Desk : A father was hacked to death by his own daughter during an altercation over a trivial matter at Lohagara upazila in Chattogram on Friday (1 December). The deceased was identified as Abdur Rahman, 50, of Putibila Sarai village under the upazila. Police have detained the daughter, Humaira Begum, 23, soon after ... Read more

HSC results: Dhaka has most GPA-5 achievers, while Barishal has highest pass rate

News Desk : Dhaka had the highest number of GPA-5 recipients in the HSC exams, while Barishal Education Board had the highest pass rate among nine educational boards. Education Minister Dipu Moni announced today that the overall pass rate in the nine general boards is 75.90 percent. In terms of pass rates, Barishal ranked ... Read more

PSC postpones 45th BCS written tests

News Desk : The Bangladesh Public Service Commission (PSC) has decided to postpone the written tests for the 45th Bangladesh Civil Service examination, which was scheduled to be held on 27 November. The announcement came through a notification signed by Ananda Kumar Biswas, the exam controller of PSC, issued on Friday. PSC held a ... Read more

After stabbing younger sister to death woman ‘kills herself’ in Hazaribagh

News Desk : A woman reportedly killed herself after stabbing her younger sister to death in the capital’s Hazaribagh area today. Police said the incident took place in the Kalunagar area at around 12am on Monday (13 November). The deceased have been identified as Jasmine Akhtar, 44, and her younger sister Nasreen Akhtar, 30. ... Read more

Oman stops issuing new visas to citizens of Bangladesh

News Desk : The Sultanate of Oman has suspended the issuance of visas across all categories for Bangladeshi nationals, the Royal Oman Police (ROP) said on Tuesday. The decision was effective from Tuesday, reported Oman-based English newspaper the Times of Oman referring to the Royal Oman Police. The report said that the ROP confirmed ... Read more

Dhaka girl Nupur takes over as chairman of Unilever for a day

News Desk : Seventeen-year-old Nupur from Dhaka, had the opportunity to take over Unilever’s chairman position for one day on Thursday. There, she symbolically carried out the roles and responsibilities of Zaved Akhtar, the chairman and managing director of Unilever Bangladesh, said a press release. Nupur being an active youth club member, works for ... Read more

Hospitals must follow guidelines, orders HC

News Desk : The High Court on Thursday asked the government to take steps to make it compulsory to follow the relevant guidelines for the prevention of performing unnecessary caesarean section surgery at government and private hospitals and clinics. The court has also directed the government to widely circulate the guidelines within six months. ... Read more

Woman delivers birth to five babies at DMCH

News Desk : A woman has given birth to five premature babies. The quintuplets were born at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) at 10am on Thursday to Mansura Begum, 22, the wife of CNG driver Md Mamun from Bandardia village in Shibpur upazila of Narsingdi district. One of the newborns, however, died shortly ... Read more

Tk8.44 cr fine imposed to Kazi Farms, 3.44 crore to Suguna Food

News Desk : The Bangladesh Competition Commission has fined Kazi Farms Group and Saguna Food and Feeds on charges of market manipulation causing abnormal rise in broiler chicken prices. BCC officials said that the companies must deposit the fine amount to the BCC within 10 working days. If they fail to deposit the fine ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit national museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited national museum in Dhaka on Sunday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited national museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative list on ... Read more

Fare for Bangladesh-India trains to increase from November 10

News Desk : Ticket prices of three inter-country trains on Bangladesh-India routes are going to be hiked from November 10. The fares are going to increase due to high exchange rate of US dollar and rising travel tax, according to the Bangladesh Railway officials. The trains are – Maitree Express on Dhaka-Kolkata, Bandhan Express ... Read more

Man, nephew killed by lightning

News Desk : A man and his nephew were struck by lightning in Satarbari village of Longair union under Gafargaon upazila of Mymensingh yesterday. The deceased were identified as Sohel Mondol, 40, a trader of pharmaceutical drugs, and his nephew Razib Mondol, 35 a rice trader in the village. Quoting locals, Raju Ahmed, officer-in-charge ... Read more

TV sales decline despite World Cup: Is streaming to blame?

News Desk : The ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 captures the attention of sports enthusiasts across the world and an intriguing trend is emerging in Bangladesh’s television market. While events of this magnitude have traditionally led to an increase in TV sales, recent figures from September show a 30% decline compared to the same ... Read more

Heritage volunteers visit Paharpur archaeological museum

News Desk : The heritage volunteers participating in UNESCO World Heritage Volunteers Programme 2023 visited Paharpur archaeological museum in Naogaon on Friday. The ten-day workshop programme organised by Nagar Upakhyan-Perceive started on October 1, said a press release. The Heritage volunteers’ team visited Paharpur archaeological museum which is on the UNESCO World Heritage tentative ... Read more

Child among three dead as mud walls collapsed in rain in Gazipur

News Desk : Three people including an eight-year-old child died in separate incidents of mud walls collapsing during heavy rain in Sadar and Kaliakoir upazilas of Gazipur. The deceased are Faridul Islam, 8, son of Matiur Rahmon of Konabari Baimile under Sadar upazila, and Imarat Hossain, 65, and his wife Achia Begum, 56, of ... Read more