Revealing the dire straits of the country’s transportation sector, of late, all our major dailies have published a number of reports on unfit vehicles and unlicensed drivers. These reports say that among the 38 lakh licensed vehicles in the country, five lakh are not fit to run on the roads and the number of unlicensed drivers is more than 10 lakh. Also it was reported that fitness certificates of 70,000 vehicles have not been renewed in the last 10 years.
Transportation experts blame unfit vehicles, unskilled drivers and reckless driving as the core reasons behind the staggering number of road accidents. Many bus owners recruit drivers considering personal relationship and recommendations of known people without properly examining their driving skill. What is more saddening is that a number of unscrupulous BRTA officials provide licence to the unskilled drivers and fitness certificates to the unfit vehicles without giving any test. As a result, a huge number of unskilled drivers get chance to ply their vehicles on roads illegally. As long as the gruesome practice of giving license to the unskilled drivers and unfit vehicles is not stopped, the grisly procession of deaths on the roads would continue unabated. Therefore, in order to reinforce road safety transport owners must scrutinize the driving skill of the drivers before recruiting. Authorities concerned should take immediate measures to improve the current road safety issues, such as examining driver’s skill and vehicle fitness, discouraging reckless driving, improving the traffic police control system and ensuring more cooperation between the drivers and owners.
Every time the gravity of road safety issues gets intensified when any student dies of road accident. Protesters blocking roads and seeking the highest punishment of the perpetrators have become very common repercussions of any gruesome road accident. After every incident of road crash we hear pledges from the BRTA, police, and other transport authorities. But all fade away within the circle of time which is why the procession of deaths on the roads never stops. After the incident of Abrar Ahmed, numerous accidents have taken place in the capital and all across the country. It has been reported that in most of the cases the buses were running without a fitness certificate and the drivers did not have a valid driving license. The bus that killed Abrar also didn’t have a fitness certificate.
When the authorities concerned cannot maintain integrity in terms of giving certificates to drivers and vehicles, it is not pragmatic indeed to expect those drivers who buy licence through unfair means will maintain discipline on the roads. In this regard, a strong monitoring body equipped with modern technology and adequate manpower should be devised immediately. What we all want now is to see severe steps taken by the authorities concerned to punish those responsible for these deaths.
It is not only the drivers’ responsibility to maintain discipline on roads, but also it is the responsibility of each and every citizen to follow traffic rules on the roads. Therefore, concerted efforts and cooperation are needed to this end and the government must advocate this through development of polices and strengthening road safety legislation.