Laws For everyday life
Laws applicable when there's a road accident
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 1.2 million people worldwide are killed every year due to road accidents, and as many as 50 million are injured or disabled. The majority of these deaths, approximately 85 percent, occur in low to middle-income countries. It is estimated that more than 300 U.S. citizens die each year due to road accidents abroad and thousands more are injured. The majority of road crash victims (injuries and fatalities) in developing countries are not the motor vehicle occupants, but pedestrians, motorcyclists, bicyclists and non-motor vehicle (NMV) occupants.
The road network in our country is in a poor condition and inadequately maintained. The streets of Dhaka are extremely congested; bicycle rickshaws compete with three-wheeled mini-taxis (CNGs), cars, overloaded buses, and trucks on limited road space. Inter-city roads are narrow. Driving at night is especially dangerous. Streetlights are rare even in cities. Road accidents are common in Bangladesh. Fatal head-on collisions on inter-city roads are common. When vehicle accidents occur, a crowd quickly gathers and violence can occur when the crowd becomes unruly.
The following are some laws of our country which govern duties of the police, driver and the public on the road at the time of occurrence of accident.
THE VEHICLES ACT, 1927
Part II, Provisions of general application
Duty to stop vehicle for regulating traffic and in case of accident
5. The person in charge of a vehicle shall cause the vehicle to stop and to remain stationary so long as may be reasonably be necessary-
(a) when required to do so by any police-officer for the purpose of regulating traffic or of ascertaining his name and address with a view to prosecuting such person under this Act or for any purpose connected with the enforcement of the provisions of this Act or the rules thereunder, or
(b) when he knows or has reason to believe that an accident has occurred to any person or to any animal or conveyance in charge of a person owing to the presence of the vehicle, and he shall also give his name and address and the name and address of the owner of such vehicle, to any police-officer in uniform present or to any person reasonably requesting such names and addresses.
THE DHAKA METROPOLITAN POLICE ORDINANCE, 1976
Chapter IV, Powers and duties of police-officers
Duties of police-officers towards the public and arrested persons
16. It shall be the duty of every police-officer-
(a) to afford every assistance within his power to disabled or helpless persons in the streets, and to take charge of intoxicated persons and of lunatics at large who appear to be dangerous or incapable of taking care of themselves;
(b) to take prompt measures to procure necessary help for any person under arrest or in custody who is wounded or sick, and, while guarding or conducting any such person, to have due regard to his condition;
(c) to arrange for the proper sustenance and shelter of every person who is under arrest or in custody;
(d) in conducting searches, to refrain from needless rudeness and the causing of unnecessary annoyance;
(e) in dealing with women and children, to act with strict regard to decency and with reasonable gentleness;
(f) to use his best endeavours to prevent any loss or damage by fire;
(g) to use his endeavours to avert any accident or danger to the public.
Chapter VII, Offences, penalties and procedure
Penalty for making or repairing vehicle in street or public place
72. Whoever in any street or public place makes any vehicle or part of a vehicle, or, except when in the case of an accident repairing on the spot is unavoidable repairs any vehicle or part of a vehicle, or carries on therein any manufacture or operation or work so as to be an impediment to traffic or annoyance to the public or neighbouring residents 1[ shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year, or with fine which may extend to two thousand taka, or with both, and such vehicle shall be liable to be confiscated to the Government].
THE MOTOR VEHICLES ORDINANCE, 1983
Chapter VII, Control of traffic
99. No person driving or in charge of a motor vehicle shall cause or allow the vehicle to remain stationary in any public place, unless there is in the driver's seat a person duly licensed to drive the vehicle or unless the mechanism has been stopped and a brake or brakes applied or such other measures taken as to ensure that the vehicle cannot accidentally be put in motion in the absence of the driver.
Duty of driver to stop in certain cases
102. (1) The driver of a motor vehicle shall cause the vehicle to stop and remain stationary so long as may reasonably be necessary:-
(a) when required to do so by any police officer in uniform, or any Inspector of Motor Vehicles, or any person authorised in this behalf by the Government, or
(b) when required to do so by any person in charge of an animal if such person apprehends that the animal is, or being alarmed by the vehicle will become, unmanageable, or
(c) when the vehicle is involved in the occurrence of an accident to a person, animal or vehicle or of damage to any property, whether the driving or management of the vehicle was or was not the cause of the accident or damage, and he shall give his name and address and the name and address of the owner of the vehicle to any person affected by any such accident or damage who demands it provided such person also furnishes his name and address.
(2) The driver of a motor vehicle shall, on demand by a person giving his own name and address and alleging that the driver has committed an offence punishable under section 143, give his name and address to that person.
(3) In this section the expression “animal” means any horse, cattle, elephant, camel, ass, mule, sheep or goat.
Duty of driver in case of accident and injury to a person
104. When any person is injured or any property is damaged as the result of an accident in which a motor vehicle is involved, the driver of the vehicle or other person in charge of the vehicle shall-
(a) take all reasonable steps to secure medical attention for the injured person, and, if necessary convey him to the nearest hospital, unless the injured person or his guardian (in case he is a minor), desires otherwise;
(b) give on demand by a police officer any information required by him, or, if no police officer is present, report the circumstances of the occurrence at the nearest police station as soon as possible, and in any case within twenty four hours of the occurrence.
In 2009, the United Nations is planning to hold its first-ever high-level global summit on Road Safety, to be held in the Russian Federation.
-- Compiled by Law Desk.