Road accidents have grown to become a national problem throughout the country. A total of 49 percent of all road accidents involve pedestrians or people who were not in any other vehicle.
A total of 59 percent of the accidents killing predestinates, in one way or the other, involve a heavy vehicles such as buses or trucks.
Furthermore, the number of unfit vehicles in the country has increased significantly throughout the last one year. Experts believe the risk of accidents is on the rise due to the increase of unfit heavy vehicles as well.
Professor Hadiuzzaman of the Accident Research Institute of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) shared the above information while exchanging views on the issue.
“Heavy vehicle fitness is relatively low. We have found in our research that the involvement of heavy vehicles, buses and trucks in road accidents in 2019 was 43.4%. In 2020, it increased to 44.5 percent. The number of accidents and deaths on the road is also increasing due to the increase in unfit vehicles,” he said.
Professor Hadiuzzaman further said that the number of unfit vehicles in the country has increased significantly throughout the last year.
According to the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), there are about 5.4 lakh vehicles that lack the standard fitness recorded in the country till last month.
At the end of last year, there were about 4.8 lakh such vehicles according to the information presented by Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader presented in the Parliament on January 26. In other words, the number of vehicles lacking fitness has increased by around 60,000 in one year.
As per BRTA officials, owners of unfit vehicles are being regularly asked for fitness updates via text messages or SMS. Officials informed that various measures including fines, imprisonment and dumping are being undertaken against such vehicles. However, the situation remains unchanged.
BRTA Chairman Nur Mohammad Majumder told Bangladesh Post that regular awareness campaigns are held on the issue.
“The owners of these vehicles are being fined through mobile courts in the operation. The efforts seem to be ineffective,” he said.
A committee has been reconstituted to look into the issue of vehicles being given fitness certificates without inspection and examination at BRTA head office. BRTA chairman Nur Mohammad Majumder issued the order on November 29.
According to Section 25 of the Road Transport Act 2018, there is a provision to get a fitness certificate of any motor vehicle from BRTA. Even then, the fitness of a significant number of motor vehicles has not been renewed for over 10 years. In this situation, BRTA has repeatedly ordered the owners to renew the fitness of their own vehicles.
According to BRTA's vehicle inspectors, the fitness certificate is given to vehicles by inspecting the vehicle’s body, chassis number, engine condition, headlights and looking glasses.
General Secretary of Bangladesh Road Transport Owners Association Khandaker Enayetullah told Bangladesh Post, "We have been demanding from the government for years to give us the opportunity to import duty-free vehicles. Not just buses, many unauthorized vehicles including human haulers, locally known as ‘leguna’, do not have fitness.”
Noor Nabi Shimu, chairman of the Drivers Training Center, told this correspondent “There are at least one million unlicensed BRTA vehicles across the country, including in Dhaka. These vehicles include small three-wheelers or battery-run passenger carriers in smaller lanes.”
They do not have registration and fitness and these vehicles are also involved in accidents. BRTA is not keeping track of these low-speed vehicles. Due to this, the number of unfit vehicles would increase by several times, he added.