Four years have passed since the enactment of the ‘Road Transport Act, 2018’. However, no rules have been formulated till now to implement the law.
As a result, taking effective initiatives to make the road safe and implementing the law are being hindered, said Road Safety Coalition Bangladesh in its latest report.
The organization organized a press conference at the National Press Club in the capital on Saturday (October 1) demanding the formulation of rules under the ‘Road Transport Act, 2018’.
Khalid Mahmud, road safety program manager of BRAC read out a written statement at the press conference, while it was attended, among others, by film-star Ilias Kanchan, founder & chairman of Nirapad Sarak Chai (We Demand Safe Road), Dr Shariful Alam, country coordinator of Global Health Advocacy Incubator, Ahmed Nazmul Hussain, road safety program director of BRAC, Dr Hadiuzzaman, director of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of BUET and Kazi Saifun Newaz, an assistant professor of BUET.
Dr Mahfuzur Rahman Bhuiyan, director of National Heart Foundation; Dr Selim Mahmud Chowdhury, director of Center for Injury Prevention and Research Bangladesh (CIPRB), Iqbal Masud, health and wash sector director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, AHM Bazlur Rahman, chief executive of BNNRC, Rezwan Nabin, media coordinator of Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, and Hasibuzzaman, managing director of Impressive Communications Limited also attended the event.
In the written statement, it was stated that although it has been four years since the approval of the road transport law, no rules have been formulated to implement it. As a result, chaos on the roads still remain and dominate while the number of deaths in road accidents is increasing.
It was also stated in the written statement that the present government is making efforts to solve the issue of road safety with the help of allied organizations and institutions. However, the extent of road accidents and damage are multi-dimensional, so it is not possible for the government alone to solve it. This requires joint efforts and effective initiatives of various organizations, institutions and experts at national and international level.
It as also said in the press conference that the government has taken various steps to prevent road accidents, one of which is the enactment of the Road Transport Act, 2018. While this law has many limitations and loopholes.
One of which is that although the law mandates the wearing of helmets, its criteria and rules of use are absent in the law. Although the law prescribes penalties for violating the speed limit, there are no instructions and guidelines for determining the speed limit, its implementation and monitoring, which is unenforceable.
Besides, the law does not include mandatory use of seatbelts for passengers and mandatory use of child restraints or safe or secure seats for children.
The Road Safety Coalition Bangladesh was launched in the beginning of this year aiming to reduce road accidents in Bangladesh. Its member organisations are- Nirapad Sarak Chai of Ilias Kanchan, BRAC, Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Accident Research Institute (ARI) of BUET,
Other organizations joining the cause of road safety are; Bangladesh Red Crescent Society, Center for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh, National Heart Foundation, Bangladesh Orthopedic Society; Bangladesh NGOs Network for Radio and Communication and Impressive Communication Limited.