A lot has been said on road safety issue, but very little has been done in this regard.
Frustrated with the frequent horrific accidents on roads, Md Jamal Hossain, a CNG-run auto-rickshaw driver, has come up with a vision to make the roads safer for all.
Jamal, who is from Ishwardi upazila of Pabna, has been trying to create awareness among people, especially drivers, regarding how to be safe while on the road. As part of his initiative, he has written a book with 25 recommendations, which he believes would ensure road safety.
With the aim to launch his book formally, he held a press conference at the Sagar-Runi auditorium of Dhaka Reporters' Unity in the capital on Wednesday. His wife Sotorupa Jamal and three sons were present, among others.
Jamal blamed owners of vehicles and the management of transport regulatory bodies for the accidents on roads and highways all over the country.
He said, it is impossible for a driver to drive 24 hours, but the owners compel them to do so.
"Why aren't there at least two drivers for each of the buses running on the long-routes?" he questioned.
Jamal alleged that the government and other concerned authorities do not train the drivers in a proper way. Due to the negligence and the lack of responsibilities of the authorities concerned, deaths and damage to properties from road accidentsis now a daily routine and has become as deadly as anything, he said.
His recommendations include: not to use tyres beyond expiry dates, to avoid overtaking on highways, not permitting people below 20 years to ride on motorcycle, appointing gatemen at all level crossings across the country, avoid driving on the wrong side of the road, checking on the drunk-driving, taking measures to stop haphazard parking of vehicles, and so on.
He requested the government to take his recommendations into account in order to make the roads safer.
"I am conducting the awareness programme only in the interest of the people. I do not have any personal interest in this, and I am spending money from my own pocket for this," said Jamal.
In the programme, Jamal's wife said she has been inspiring her husband in this noble venture of his.
In August 2018, thousands of young people took to the streets in the capital after two students of Shaheed Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College were run over by a bus, as it ploughed through a crowd while locked in a race with another bus. The protests ultimately spread to different districts.
After the incident and subsequent country-wide protests, lawmakers at the timehastily passed the Road Transport Act-2018, to bring discipline on roads. Unfortunately, the government is yet to issue a gazette notification specifying the day on which the law would take effect. Different stakeholders in the area of 'road transport'also made serious promises to make meaningful changes after the incident.
Filmmaker Ilias Khanchan has also been advocating for safer roads through "Nirapad Sarak Chai" movement over the years. But safety on roads still remains a major concern, as things have not changed for the better.