Dhaka, Bangladesh
Developing a safe transport system

Editorial

Developing a safe transport system

Country’s Road Transport Act 2018 came into effect from November 1, 2019, though after two week’s relax. The law actually came for implementation from November 15. The mobile courts started operating in different places across the country. But the implementation again faces problems. Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA), under the law, in the wake of sudden surveillance, confronted with reactions from drivers and transport workers. A section, out of fear went into work abstention, causing immense sufferings to the public. The Bangladesh Truck Covered-van Goods Transport Owners Workers Unity Council had called an indefinite strike across the country from Wednesday, 20 November, 2019, demanding amendment to the new Act. Both before and after the announcement of the Act, only negative aspects came in the coverage, thereby raising many questions. If a driver doesn’t have a driving licence, or possesses a forged licence, what will happen to them? In previous law, there was a penalty of 300 taka for over-speeding, but the new Act has raised the fines abruptly high to Tk 10,000. Of course, the drivers as a whole drive totally in a reckless and freestyle way. They want to finish the trip as early as possible to get the next trip for earning more money for survival. Thus this is the major reason for the anarchy and accident on the streets across the country’s road net-work. The new traffic law has signaled red light to their livelihood, because under the law, drivers will not be able to drive without paying any fine. On the other hand, if the current system continues the drivers will always have the tendency to drive fast, leading to more and more road accidents. The scenario stepped into second phase, when astonishingly, the responsible people mentioned that the enforcement of the RTA will be tolerable if needed. Getting assurance, the leaders of the transport workers called off the strike. The leaders also threatened to call the strike again in June 2020. They also blamed BRTA- published leaflets containing 13 penalties. The penalties for pedestrians, engineers, and others under the new law also created resentment. In the circumstances, any further change in the law needs a joint-stakeholders’ meeting sponsored by the BRTA where different stakeholders could discuss the loopholes in a comprehensive way in the best interests of the country’s transport sector. In view of that, all sides need to be tolerant of the situation on the streets and the practice of blaming the law enforcers and the drivers for the anarchic situation of the streets shall have to be stopped. Pragmatic and visionary plans marked by effective implementation of a consensus-oriented decision could make a u-turn in the best interest of better transportation.

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