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Bangladesh protests: How dangerous are the roads? (2)

Written by Darius Rubics

How does Bangladesh compare regionally?

Between 2010 and 2014, there appears to be a decline in fatalities, if you go by Bangladesh government figures, and then the number starts increasing again.

World Bank data indicates deaths per 100,000 people in Bangladesh dropped from 14.1 in 2010 to 12.8 in 2015.

More recent figures are not available.

It’s worth mentioning that neighbouring India as well as Pakistan both have higher fatality rates when you look at the WHO data for 2015.

Globally, Europe is one of the safest places to be on the roads, while parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America are the worst.

According to a report prepared for the UK Parliament this year, Africa had the highest road traffic fatality rate in 2013, at 26.6 deaths per 100,000, while Europe (including Russia, Turkey and Central Asia) had the lowest, at 9.3 per 100,000.

Enforcement and legal issues

Safety advocates such as Ilias Kanchan say they have been trying for years to get successive governments to pay more attention to the issue.

He believes there are number of glaring problems:

  • no proper licensing of drivers and corruption in the licensing process
  • lack of formal training for those in charge of public vehicles (they often learn on the job)
  • poor enforcement by the police and local authorities of traffic regulations
  • lack of legal consequences for dangerous driving

Mozammel Huq, of the pressure group Bangladesh Passenger Welfare Association, recently told the BBC only about 20% of traffic accident victims took their cases to court as the conviction rate was so low, although there’s no official data to confirm this.

The WHO report on global road safety gave Bangladesh just three out of 10 for enforcement of laws on speed limits.

The government is now saying it is listening.

This week, Roads and Transport Minister Obaidul Kader said that the government had now approved the new transport act and would go to parliament to get approval.

This act will increase the penalties for driving without a licence, driving an unregistered or non-roadworthy vehicle and for modifying a vehicle.

It also introduces a points system for traffic violations and tighten ups some of the conditions for holding a licence.

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Darius Rubics

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