Respect the Law, Drive Safe & Save Lives

By Anis Zaman

Road safety, a term that is no stranger to the people of Bangladesh, as it is one of
the biggest cause of mortality in the country. Around 8000 human lives were lost
to road accidents in 2019 and around 14,000 people were additionally injured
from road accidents in the same year. That’s 8000 families that suffered the death
of someone they love. During the 2020 Covid pandemic, even with the lockdown
in place, over 1500 people lost their lives due to road accidents from March till
June.

Road safety in Bangladesh is a serious issue and it should be dealt with strong
efforts to curb road accidents and save lives. With the increasing road network
expansion in our country, increasing in the number of vehicles on the streets,
growing traffic and unchecked vehicle speed, it is crucial that we adapt to strict
road safety measures as soon as possible. Some say ‘the system is flawed’
blaming it entirely on the authorities, but we too should take the blame equally
for our actions. The vehicle operators on the street still do not follow simple rules
like being in the correct lane while driving. They go about honking in zones where
it’s not allowed, making illegal U-Turns, driving on the wrong side of the road,
parking in ‘NO_PARKING’ roads or disregard simple instructions like
respecting the Traffic Signal. All of these acts cumulatively contribute to the
traffic on the road that hampers our day to day commute.

As the Member Secretary of Civic Utilities, Traffic & Community Police of
Gulshan Society, I, along with my colleagues, work directly with the DMP and
DNCC regarding the development of Gulshan. Last year we organised a drive in
Gulshan Model Town raising awareness about ‘No Horn Zone’. We went out on
the streets with school children, DNCC authorities, DMP traffic police and other
volunteers armed with road safety leaflets and hand held banners to re-introduce
the essence of No Horn Zones and other road safety measures. Most of the drivers
on the street were very happy to see such initiative being taken. Did you know
according to Roads and Highways Penal Code, if you horn in a “No Horn Zone”
you can be penalized BDT 100 for each incident.It is not essential that only the people who have obtained a driving license should

be aware of the traffic rules. This is applicable to all citizens of the country who
travel on roads by any means. For instance, we should all know the major road
signs and what they mean. It is important to understand the signals at crossings
so that we don’t land in between moving raffic and injure ourselves as well as the
person driving the vehicle.

Similarly, people walking on foot should always walk on the left side of the road
while being attentive when walking. That is why it is always advised that while
on road we should keep our mobile phones as well as headphones away and pay
attention to the horns of the vehicles instead.
Proper awareness and education about road safety rules and regulations will help
a lot in this case. People who cross the roads in most of the odd times and those
who exceed the speed limits or overtake in busy areas should be made aware of
the situation where all their lives are at serious threat while they hurry to reach
their destination.

This awareness can be spread through seminars, workshops, awareness programs
but also should be taught in schools from Grade 5, so that these driving instincts
come naturally to them when they are learning to drive. In most cases, students
and teenagers are those who tend to break the rules and risk their lives. It is
important to educate them about road safety and the precautions that need to be
taken. The best way to make this happen is by adding a road safety guidline in
their study syllabus at school so they may start from the basics.
It is up to each and every individual in our country to build a safe Bangladesh, so
we should all do our part and build a better future for our next generation.