On the first day of enforcement of the amended law titled Road Transport Act-2018, drivers and pedestrians were largely found ignorant or unaware of its execution. The amended law, to bring more discipline and hand down stringent penalties, seeks safer and secured roads across the country. However, commuters, pedestrians and drivers - all seemed still ignorant.
alking to this correspondent on Friday, most of the transport drivers, workers and people on the streets said they are not aware of enforcement of the amended law. They said government should take an initiative for mass awareness programmes, especially targeting the drivers, general public who frequently use main roads.
Like previous days, desperate driving, indiscriminate parking, plying of unfit vehicles and unhealthy race to pick bus passengers on the roads and highways continued on the day as most of the transports’ drivers and workers did not know that the Road Transport Act-2018 came into effect.
Apart from the drivers and transport workers, cautiousness of the people mostly pedestrians in the capital Dhaka and other parts of country to avert road accidents, was also noticed to be minimum. Instead of remaining alert, most people were seen on the roads and highways using mobile phones during crossing roads.
Anwar, 38, a driver of a private public transport - Balaka, said, “I do not know about the amended law which came into effect from today.”
About enforcement of the amended law, a female pedestrian said, “I have no idea about the newly amended clauses in the road safety law.”
Experts who gave their opinion to Bangladesh Post said, it is not the responsibility of the government or drivers alone to ensure road safety and discipline. People on the streets, whether driving or crossing the roads, should be aware of the law and respect the rules under the law instead of defying the rules.
Meanwhile, on the first day of its enforcement, a passenger bus and a goods-laden truck collided head on at Pirganj Upazila of Rangpur district which left 2 people killed and at least 17 people injured. The accident took place at Baradarga on Rangpur-Dhaka highway in the morning on Friday.
Several traffic police officials posted on different intersections in the capital and other places of the country, said as on Friday, they have started motivating both the transport workers and people as well on the enforcement of the amended law. “As the Road transport Act-2018 came into effect today (Friday), we are doing our best to aware general public. Initially we are not going to penalize public and drivers for defying the amended law. We are just focusing on motivating drivers and public on the streets,” an official said.
As desperate driving continued to take away lives on roads and highways everyday throwing the fate of the most of the victims’ family into miserable condition, the government enacted the law to bring harsher penalties and hand down the punishment according to violations.
About the amended law, Awami League general secretary and road transport and bridges Minister Obaidul Quader on Friday said, “The new road transport act 2018 has been amended to bring discipline and safety on the roads. If there is no discipline on the road, there is no value of development. So, the discipline on the road has to be ensured first.”
The minister said, “We have taken several initiatives to restore discipline on the roads and make driving safer. Passing of such amended law is one of them.” Meanwhile, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) and concerned organizations claimed that they had undertaken several programmes in the past weeks to announce about the amended law.
Director of BRTA Sheikh Muhammad Mahbub-e-Rabbani told Bangladesh Post on Friday, “We had put our best efforts to aware people about the law. We have also published reports on many national newspapers to make public about the law.”