“Road accidents are the 8th leading cause of death in the world. According to the World Health Organization’s Global Status Report on Road Safety 2018, 1.35 million people die in road accidents worldwide every year. More notably, road accidents are one of the leading causes of death among people aged 5-29 years and 90% of these deaths occur in low-income and middle-income countries. According to the World Health Organization, about 25,000 people die in road accidents in Bangladesh every year along many more are paralyzed. From January to October 2020, about 1,026 people died in motorcycle accidents. On average, about 2 to 3 people die every day. One of the major reasons for this is not using standard and quality helmets” said Shahnewaz Hasnat-e-Rabbi, lecturer at BUET’s Accident Recharge Institute, at a meeting titled ‘Role of Media in Strengthening Safe Roads’ at Dhaka Ahsania Mission, Health Sector on Saturday, October 9 at 11 am.
The meeting was chaired by Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director, Dhaka Ahsania Mission and he presented the keynote address at that meeting where he highlighted 5 risk factors and case studies of various road accidents and possible recommendations to resolve them.
He said that, if the speed of vehicles could be reduced by an average of 5%, it would be possible to reduce accidents by 30%. If all passengers, including the driver, are mandated to wear seatbelts, it is possible to prevent injuries to 50%of the front seat and 75% of the rear seats. Ensuring standard and quality helmets for all riders on motorcycles can reduce road accidents by 40% and prevent 70% of serious injuries. It is possible to keep 54% to 80% of children safe in road accidents by providing safe seating arrangements for children, especially in small vehicles. It is possible to reduce the death toll in road accidents by 20% if the road law on alcohol and drug use is amended and its proper implementation is done.
Sharfuddin Ahmed Chowdhury, Chief Executive Officer of Savar Municipality and SM Azad Hossain, Organizing Secretary of Nirapod Sarak Chai (Nishcha) also spoke at the meeting moderated by Sharmeen Rahman, Project Coordinator, Road Safety Project, Dhaka Ahsania Mission.
Sharfuddin Ahmed Chowdhury said there is a need for public awareness to ensure road safety. We have to implement the responsible behavior of the government and our safe road policy.
SM Azad Hossain, organizing secretary of Nirapod Sarak Chai (Nishcha), said that the media personals have to work on all these issues in the movement of the safe road. Media personnel is able to play an important role in bringing it to the attention of the government. He added that the role of media or journalists in the development of the country is immense. Likewise, the role of media/journalists is one of the ways to ensure safe roads. The media is constantly informing the people at all levels of the country about the road situation, accidents, safety, etc. by publishing several reports/news. At the same time, the media has highlighted the steps to be taken in road safety and its implementation progress.
Md. Mukhlesur Rahman, Assistant Director, Health Sector, Dhaka Ahsania Mission said, “It is possible to reduce the rate of road accidents and deaths to a great extent by taking specific steps. If these issues are included in the amended law, such as: setting the maximum speed limit for vehicles, making it mandatory for motorcyclists to wear standard helmets, making it mandatory for all passengers, including drivers, to wear seat belts, safe seats for children in transport, etc.
The meeting was attended by 16 journalists from daily newspapers and online news portals. They are Zahid Bhuiyan (Daily Amader Shomoy), Jonaed Mansur (Daily Alokito Bangladesh), Roton Chandra Balo (Daily Bhorer Paata), Md. Aktearujjaman (Amader Orthoniti), Masud Rana (Shongbad), Abdullah Al Mamun (Shomoyer Alo), Jobaer Ahmed Nobin (Bangladesh Journal), Saeed Mahade Sekendar (Odhikar), Shahidul Islam Bhuiyan (Business Protidin), Tariqul Islam (Manabzamin), Nahid-Ul-Hasanat (Dhaka Post), Babul Hridoy (Business Bangladesh), Zahidur Rahman (Samakal), Saiful Islam (Bangladesh Today), Bahauddin Al Imran (Bangla Tribune), Ahmed Tepantar (AjkalerKhobor).
Speakers at the meeting called upon the media to come forward to strengthen safe roads. The participating journalists said that they would draw the attention of the government and the concerned authorities to ensure safe roads through their writings.