The number of accidents on national highways, rail crossings, and feeder roads has decreased in 2020 compared to the previous year. However, it has increased on regional highways.
In 2020, 6,686 people died in 4,891 road accidents while 7,855 deaths were reported from 5,516 accidents in the previous year.
The number of accidents has decreased by 12% in 2020 compared to that in 2019, according to a report of the Bangladesh Jatri Kalyan Samity, a passengers' welfare platform.
The organisation publishes this report regularly after taking information from news reports published in the media and analysing them.
At a programme in front of the National Press Club on Saturday, Mozammel Haque Chowdhury, secretary general of Jatri Kalyan Samity, said the road management or anything else does not have any credit in reducing accidents. The number of accidents has decreased because vehicle movements were stopped during the lengthy countrywide shutdown put in place to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
He reiterated the various reasons responsible for road accidents.
The organisation said reckless speeding, dangerous competition to overtake others, faulty roads, unfit vehicles, the carelessness of passengers and pedestrians, drivers' incompetence, using mobile or headphones while driving, driving under the influence of drugs, the sudden appearance of vehicles on the highways and rail crossings from feeder roads, lack of sidewalks, and poor enforcement of traffic laws were mainly responsible for accidents.
The organisation also made some recommendations to reduce road accidents.
They have recommended the implementation of the government's election manifesto on road safety, strict implementation of Road Transport Act 2018 by installing CCTV cameras in the digital system after identifying the flaws in the law, taking initiative to implement all the recommendations made for road safety, making provision to keep a 10-metre wide empty space on both sides of highways, setting up traffic signs on roads and highways, drawing zebra crossings, and taking steps to comply with them.
The passengers' welfare platform has also recommended providing professional training and moral education to drivers, stopping irregularities and corruption in the road transport sector, and modernising the licensing system for vehicle fitness and drivers in line with the developed world.
They have also called for the establishment of a training academy for the training of traffic police officers, taking steps to treat and rehabilitate the victims of road accidents by setting up a financial assistance fund, and deploying adequate quality new public transport as per the demand across the country.
The platform also recommended making it mandatory for all ministers, members of parliament, secretaries, and deputy commissioners to use public transport at least once a month so that they can observe the quality of service and safety in public transport.