Will Someone Please Do Something?
The parliament can enact meaningful legislation or update existing ones (by making someone, somewhere more responsible), the judiciary can set examples (by giving exemplary punishment to reckless persons), the concerned minister can do perhaps most (by giving effective direction), the concerned secretariat can fulfil its obligation (by implementing the ministry's decisions), the police commissioner can be more operational (by taking action through his force), the traffic commissioner can be more committed (by being more proactive with his force), the railway authority can modernise the system (by shouting out their need in the city and the rural area), the BRTA can make a momentous transformation (by honestly regulating vehicle fitness and driving licenses), the owner can change the entire scenario (by keeping unfit and ineligible vehicles off the road), the driver (of a bus, car, truck, CNG, microbus, etc) can make a singular contribution to road safety (by driving with utmost care), the shop owners and vendors can make plying of traffic easier (by not encroaching the roads), and the pedestrian can act usefully (by using vehicular roads sensibly).
We all fit somewhere in the above picture. But we are looking at the gruesome picture from the outside.
Rarely do we hear of a driver/pedestrian/officer being jailed for an offence that caused loss of life on our roads. It is usually the case of 'driver absconding', but often it is the pedestrian or the law enforcer who are responsible.
At the moment we all have our hands and minds folded. The consequences are tragic, the losses irreparable, the trauma excruciating. Here are the results over only the past fortnight from only ONE newspaper:
DS 18 July: 5 killed as train rams microbus in Jhenidah
Five people of a groom's motorcade, heading for the wedding ceremony, were killed when a train rammed their microbus on a level crossing in Mandertala in Jhenidah yesterday afternoon.
DS 17 July: Road crashes kill 4
Four people were killed in separate road accidents in Dinajpur and Bogra yesterday.
DS 16 July: 3 killed in road crashes
Three people, including a woman and her daughter, were killed and 12 others injured in separate road accidents in Dinajpur and Pabna in two days.
DS 15 July: Five killed in road accidents
Five people were killed in separate road accidents in Bogra, Brahmanbaria and Dinajpur yesterday.
DS 14 July: Truck crash kills 13 day labourers
Thirteen people were killed and 15 others injured in a tragic road accident on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway early yesterday morning when an over loaded truck skidded off the road and fell into a ditch.
DS 13 July: Three killed in road accidents
Three people were killed and 25 others injured in separate road accidents in Narsingdi and Dinajpur in last two days.
DS 12 July: 4 killed as bus rams taxicab
Four people were killed and 10 others injured as a bus collided with a taxicab in Bishmile area under Ashulia Police Station yesterday.
DS 10 July: Road crash kills schoolteacher
A schoolteacher was killed and six others injured in a road accident on Patuakhali-Baufal highway on Wednesday evening.
DS 9 July: Three killed in road accidents
Three propel were killed in separate road accidents in Netrakona, Dinajpur and Jhenidah in last tow days.
DS 8 July: 13 killed in road accidents
Thirteen people were killed and nine others injured in separate road accidents in Gazipur, Rangpur, Dinajpur, Rajshahi Lalmonirhat and Mymensingh in the last two days.
DS 7 July: Rajshahi road crash kills 3
Three people, including a couple, were killed and seven others injured in a road accident at Tanore upazila of Rajshahi yesterday.
DS 6 July: 2 killed in road accidents
Two people were killed and 25 others injured in separate road accidents in Chapainawabganj, Khagrachhari and Patuakhali yesterday.
DS 5 July: 6 killed as truck rams 3-wheeler
A truck ran over a locally made motorised three-wheeler killing six people, including a father and son, and injuring eight people at Daingpara intersection of Godagari upazila in Rajshahi yesterday.
DS 4 July: Four killed in road accidents
Four people were killed and 20 others injured in separate road accidents in Manikganj, Jhenidah and Gaibandha yesterday.
Over the past fortnight 69 people died in road accidents, according to correspondents of The Daily Star. The injured do not usually make headlines. There are many cases not covered, nor reported. Many deaths do not find space in our newspapers. Alarmingly, news of road deaths has been downgraded to inside pages from front/back page in most newspapers, the media is losing interest in it, and the reader views it as just another piece of news. The matter of most concern is that so do all the parties mentioned above.
Wake up to save yourself, your kith and kin.
(R) thedailystar.net 2009