At least 8,642 people were killed and 21,855 others injured in around 6,581 road accidents occurred across the country in 2015, in figures released by an organisation committed to passengers’ welfare.
The Bangladesh Jatri Kallyan Samity (BJKS), that first started keeping such records in 2014, released their annual figures for 2015 at a press conference at the National Press Club in the city on Saturday.
Road Accident Monitoring Cell of the organisation compiled the data from published reports of 10 national dailies and six local dailies, as well as monitoring TV news reports - their second such annual compilation.
Although the number of fatalities is slightly higher than the same organisation’s corresponding figure from 2014 (8,581), the total number of accident victims, both dead and injured, represented a substantial increase of nearly 17 per cent over the 2014 number for total victims (26, 112).
The total number of accidents recorded in 2015 is also well above the 2014 mark, when it was below 6,000. The year-on-year increase, as indicated by the BJKS records, is over 11 per cent.
BJKS secretary general Md Mojammel Haque Chowdhury said some 30,497 people, including drivers and transport workers, were recorded as victims in various types of road accidents over the course of the year.
Of the total, 8642 suffered death due to injuries sustained in the accidents, while of the remaining 21,855, some 1305 people lost the use of a hand, leg or other body- part permanently, the BJKS have reported for 2015.
A majority of the accidents, 56 per cent, were recorded on national and regional highways, vastly outnumbering both the 23 per cent on city streets, and the 21 per cent recorded in villages or ‘other roads’.
A key finding of the report is that amongst all the recorded pedestrian deaths due to accidents in 2015, a very high 60 per cent occurred in and around markets and kitchen markets of both cities and villages that could be linked to the absence of bus bays in those areas, and where footpaths had been illegally ‘grabbed’.
There is also a breakdown of the types of accidents to have occurred, where ‘head-on collisions’ between vehicles dwarfs the others with 57 per cent of all accidents being recorded as such by the BJKS.
The sight of vehicles having skidded off highways and fallen into some roadside ditch is of course not uncommon in Bangladesh, and we learn from the BJKS report that 13 per cent of all accidents recorded in 2015 presented such views; the same (13 per cent) that resulted out of drivers losing control over the steering, while the remaining 17 per cent were attributed to ‘other reasons’ by the BJKS.
Their Road Accident Monitoring Cell has pointed to footpath grabbing, (presumably reckless) overtaking, exceeding speed limits and overloaded vehicles as major reasons that were the most common in the road accidents.
Among others, joint secretary of Nirapad Sarak Chai Andolan Lion Gani Miah Babul was also present on the occasion, according to UNB. – DH