People advocating for safer roads have expressed resentment over a clause in the road transport law that retains a provision of maximum 5 years imprisonment and paying highest Tk 5 lakh as compensation for those killed in road accidents.
Leading activists call for stringent laws to curb road accidents and urged the government to raise the amount of compensation that would go to beneficiaries. They proposed that Tk 5 lakh as mentioned in the law is ‘too soft’ a punishment if considered for road accidents. They demanded that the government increase the punishment to at least 10 years for causing death to a person for reckless driving.
The latestRoad Transport Law 2018 was passed two years ago and it came into force in November 2019. Although there was a provision of compensation in the law, it did not see the light of success due to lack of rules. As a result, various complications have been created regarding the payment of compensation.
The law mentions a maximum punishment of five years' imprisonment for causing death to a person by reckless driving and a Tk500,000 fine for fatal accidents. The provision in the law faced strong criticism from activists who termed the sentence too weak to curb road accidents.
One of the examples of this is that the family of college student Rajib Hossain did not get a single penny of Tk 50 lakh compensation despite the order of the Appellate Division. Besides, Russell Sarkar, who lost his leg in a 2018 road mishap by Greenline transport, got Tk10 lakh. The court, however, had directed Greenline transport to Russel another Tk 20 lakh.
In this situation, the government is going to make rules for compensation of taka three lakh if injured in a road accident and taka five lakh if killed. Criticizing the proposed clauses in the law many activists urged the government to increase the amount.
Bangladesh JatriKalyanSamity Secretary General MozammelHaque Chowdhury said the amount is not enough. We demand the amount to be at least Tk 20 lakh for causing death (to be paid to the family of the deceased) and Tk 5 lakh for fatal injuries.
'NirapadSarak Chai' (Nischa) founder and actor IliasKanchan told Bangladesh Post that the most important thing to prevent road accidents is to restore order and ensure strict punishment for those responsible.
“If a person is killed or injured, the amount of money has to be determined considering the damage that is being done to him or her. We must remember that both the employer and the worker are very strong in transport sector. There has been a law on road accidents but the biggest problem of our country is that the law is not being enforced,” Kanchan added.
However, transport owners and drivers are a major obstacle to law enforcement and they are reluctant to pay compensation for reckless driving.
Experts said leaders of transport owners and workers organizations should not have authority over fund management.