Update October 22, 2020

Dhaka 3-11 am, 21-June, 2021

National Road Safety Day 2020 observed

Mirajul Moin Joy

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today ordered authorities concerned to prevent irregularities in issuing driving licenses and introduce dope testing for drivers as part of road safety campaign in the country.

“Check while giving a driving license to anyone whether he or she knows driving properly and make sure none can avail a driving license by giving some money,” she said while addressing a discussion marking the National Road Safety Day-2020 as the chief guest from her official Ganabhaban residence here through a video conference.

Asking the authorities to ensure that no drug addict could take the driving seat, the premier said, “They (drivers) need to be tested, it is
crucial that every driver goes through the dope testing (and) you will have to do it to minimise incidents of road crashes.”

Sheikh Hasina simultaneously stressed change of a social mindset that prompt mobs to attack drivers after every accident and damage the vehicles, caring little about the victims’ early treatment while there were laws to expose the offenders to punitive actions.

“I am trying to make people aware about the matter time and again. I once again request everyone — don’t beat the driver and damage the vehicle if any accident takes place. Rather help the victim,” she said.

The premier noted with appreciation the police response after accidents and asked people to call 999 as police could rush to the crash scene immediately and send the victims to the hospitals for treatment.

“Never take law in your own hands as many people die as drivers cannot gather courage to come in aide of victims stopping their vehicles,” she said.

The premier said there were many incidents when drivers were beaten to death, a phenomenon that prompt them to drive away after hitting people, and in cases crashing the victims for the second time causing their deaths whereas they could have survived.

“So, we have to change the mentality,” she said and urged road safety campaigners to address the issue instead of holding drivers responsible in all cases.

The premier called upon all to use underpasses, overbridges and zebra crossings to cross the roads to help reduce the road mishaps.

“Awareness among the citizens regarding this is very poor. So, building awareness is necessary. Don’t cross the roads here and there. Use underpasses, overbridges and zebra crossings to this end.”

The educational institutions, including schools and colleges, should have their own arrangements to help their students to cross the roads to evade road accidents, she opined.

She also advocated for giving lessons on the traffic laws from the school life and conducting awareness campaigns such as hanging posters in this regard at every institution so that people become aware about obeying the traffic rules and regulations.

The PM asked the drivers not to overtake any vehicles on the roads, and said, “We have to prevent the tendency of overtaking to ensure road safety.”

She stressed the need for proper examination of the vehicles to make sure that no unfit vehicle could ply on the roads.

The prime minister said there should be arrangements for the drivers for taking rest as accidents can take place if any person drives any vehicle with huge tiredness, adding that her government has already built restrooms at four important places and has a plan to make such facilities at different places of the country in phases.

There should be awareness regarding how long a driver could drive at a stretch and how much time is required to take rest, she said, adding: “Arrangements for alternative drivers will also have to be made for long distance vehicles and the owners of the vehicles will have to remain alert to this end.”

The PM also stressed the need for giving proper training on driving and about the vehicles to helpers alongside the drivers as in many cases accidents take place when drivers allow helpers to drive the vehicles because of their tiredness or anything else.

The Prime Minister also said that the uncontrolled speed of the vehicles will have to be controlled by fixing their speed limit on roads.

“Speed limit machines should be installed in every new road to be constructed across the country to ensure fine in case of exceeding the speed limit by any vehicle,” she added.

Noting that her government has already made straight and reconstructed 144 spots on the roads which were vulnerable for road accidents, she said, “We don’t want anybody to die or to be crippled in any road crash … that’s why we want a safe road system along with peace and discipline.”

Sheikh Hasina said that they have already started building separate roads for higher and lower speedy vehicles to evade accidents.

To make the roads safe, she said, her government has enacted “The Road Transport Act-2018” and formed a National Road Safety Council.

“We have formulated the National Road Safety Strategic Action Plan 2017-20. The action plan needs to be made time befitting. The SDG Action Plan has been prepared and is being implemented in accordance with the road safety related targets.”

The Prime Minister spelled out various measures, including construction of new roads, metro rails, flyovers, and a tunnel under the Karnaphuli river to establish a developed communication system as she described communication and electricity as the major components for ensuring overall development of a country.

She said the government has a plan to make a wide range of communications between Dhaka and the remaining parts of the country to make the country step forwards towards the development.

She said her government has been working tirelessly to build a developed, safe and peaceful Bangladesh for the future generation so that they could move across the globe keeping their heads high.

“We are now lagging behind to some extent due to the coronavirus. But, we must move forward facing all the odds to build the “Golden Bangladesh” free from hunger and poverty envisioned by the Father of the Nation,” she said.

The premier called upon all to follow the health guidelines particularly wear face masks in public gathering to be protected from the possible second wave of the Covid-19 as a fresh surge of the disease has been witnessed in Europe and America.

Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obadiah Quader, MP, spoke at the function while presiding over it from the BRTA site.

Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Road Transport and Bridges Ministry Md Akabbar Hossain, Chairman of ‘Nirapad Sarak Chai’ campaign actor Ilias Kanchan and noted columnist Syed Abul Maksud, among others, attended the event.

Road Transport and Highways Division Secretary Md Nazrul Islam delivered the welcome address.

The National Road Safety Day is being observed for the fourth straight year since 2017 in a befitting manner in the country this year with the theme: ‘Mujib Borsher Swapath, Sarak Karbo Nirapad”.

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