The highest ever road accidents took place on the latest Eid journeys across the country caused by the extensive use of motorcycles on highways, poor driving, tendencies of not adhering to traffic rules, defects in highway construction, and inadequate road signals, said a study.
As many as 372 accidents took place in 15 days (26 April to 10 May), which is 14.51% higher than the previous highest number of accidents. The previous highest was 318 last year, according to a report published by the Jatri Kalyan Samity at a press conference on Thursday.
Compared to last year's Eid, deaths and injuries also increased 22.35% and 26.3% respectively. This year, 416 died and 844 were injured in 372 accidents. Including roads, railways, and waterways, the number of accidents stood at 402, leaving 443 dead and 868 injured, as per the report that the organisation prepared based on information published in the media.
The report revealed that motorcycles caused the highest number of accidents, which is 44.08% of all accidents this Eid. Some 145 died and 110 were injured in 145 motorcycle accidents.
Among other vehicles, buses were responsible for 17.9% of accidents, trucks, pickup vans, lorries 15.49%, autorickshaws 8.85%, microbuses, sedans, jeeps 8.45%, while three-wheelers and two-wheelers were responsible for 10.66% of all accidents during the Eid journeys.
Addressing the media, Jatri Kalyan Samity Secretary General Mozammel Hoque Chowdhury said the report shows only "the tip of the iceberg" because the true situation is a matter of grave concern. Motorcycles and easy bikes (three-wheelers) have increased like cancer, with 200-250 people admitted to the National Institute of Traumatology and Orthopaedic Rehabilitation every day during Eid, whereas around 150 patients usually get admitted there.
Around 60% of these patients are victims of motorcycle accidents, while 25% were injured in easy bike accidents, he added.
Over 200 people, victims of road accidents, were admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. In divisional hospitals too, 80-100 injured persons were admitted per day.
He said the government has been implementing projects worth several crores of taka for the development of roads, railways, and waterways for almost a decade, but some projects have not been launched yet due to procrastination in project implementation.
On the other hand, due to the lack of development of a robust public transport system, people have increased the use of such small transport at an unusual rate as an alternative to avoid suffering and traffic jams. Consequently, traffic jams and road accidents are increasing faster than expected, he said.
Hadiuzzaman, director of Buet's Accident Research Centre, said that although the government earns Tk5,000 crore by marketing 5,00,000 motorcycles every year, the accident is causing financial losses of Tk20,000 to Tk25,000 crore. This vehicle, the motorcycle, can never be an alternative to public transport.
Jatri Kalyan Samity has made recommendations to prevent accidents, including stopping on an emergency basis, the import and registration of motorcycles and easy bikes, taking steps to develop skilled drivers, ensuring proper salaries for drivers and determining working hours, and constructing separate lanes for slow vs fast-moving vehicles, and construction of quality roads to accommodate public transport.
Road Safety Foundation reports 376 people were killed in 283 accidents
The Road Safety Foundation sent a report to the media on Thursday stating that 376 people were killed in 283 road accidents in the country in the 14 days before and after Eid-ul-Fitr (25 April-8 May). At least 1,500 people were injured.
They compiled the report based on information from nine national dailies, and seven online news portals and electronic media.
According to the organisation, 41.48% of all deaths were due to motorcycle accidents. During this time 156 people were killed in 128 motorcycle accidents.
Five people were killed and two others injured in seven accidents on waterways. Two people went missing. During this time, 19 people were killed and three others injured in 17 railway accidents.