Posted by: xanthis | October 27, 2008

Dilapidated Highways

It’s been exact three years of my nearly witnessing a severe road accident. It was the October 26 night of 2005 on our way to Cambridge from Stratford, East London; a dark blue Lotus M1oo overtook our National Express bus. The vehicle was dangerously quick and the driver looked too good with his wheels as it had the tremendous speed although there was quite a rush at the highway. But I said it was mere dangerous. Hardly some minutes passed after I, for the last saw the rear lights of Lotus M100, as our bus went ahead a little far and the worst was found. The blue Lotus M100 crashed at the place where the right-handed lane of the highway was divided to two routes, one to Cambridge and straight I didn’t know. The crash initially looked pretty bad. We could see the rear part of the car was a little lifted up to few inches from the asphalt. Rear glasses were transparent so the suddenly appeared bluish airbags were visible. Our driver was grudgingly passing by the scene too slowly for a highway as well as all the vehicles on our line were doing so. The crash site which was never more than two to three minutes old when we first had that at our sight and the surprise for all South Asians of the bus including myself from Bangladesh was the surroundings of the crash, cordoned by police personnels, the whole highway was turned to nearly illuminated with blue and red lights of ambulances and patrol cars. We passed by and the bus got back its usual highway speed. After some while the driver of our bus god knows from where learnt so, did let us know that two passengers, both male, survived the severe crash and have been rushed to hospital. The accident chapter at my thought was soon shut as we were in a hurry to Cambridge. It was my mother’s birthday and we were carrying a chocolate cake bought from a Sainsbury’s shop at Stratford. The cake was about to lose its speciality if we couldn’t make it before 11:59PM, before her birthday’s getting a day older. But it was beyond everything that I was really amazed with a so rapid response of police and medical agencies to rush to the crash site and rescuing the victims.

Bangladesh Highway Police was first introduced in 2004. We have never got in touch with any statistics that how the situation of Bangladesh road traffic accidents (RTA) have gone better after the formation of a whole new unit devoted to serve the highway matters. We are also not familiar with the reality that whether there has been any improvement or it has gone worse. Heavy rain, foggy weather in the winter, extra rush due to two Eid vacations are special cases when we are never to miss the news headlines of deadly automobile accidents at our highways, specially two notorious ones, the Jamuna Bridge link road at Elenga, Tangail and the whole of the Dhaka-Chittagong highway. Bangladesh is one of the most usual to face this problem increasingly and we can blame and we can throw the responsibilities of these mishaps arbitrarily to the police forces for their poor management of putting some control on highway drivers and off course the post-accident handling. But those who have got in touch with some severe highway accidents anyways, will be found a little exceptional about this blaming part, must protest it and must state it that the Bangladesh Police are the first and fastest governmental agency to respond any deadly or any highway automobile accidents. Their transportation, their manpower and their effort is almost one of the unique one that accident victims get for being helped.

The thing needed is the proper coordination of all government abilities behind helping the issue of these highway accidents and massive loss of lives. Medic teams after each five miles won’t serve the purpose if the drivers on the highway are presented with a relaxed enforcement of traffic rules. We hailed the services of police at the aftermath of a highway automobile accident, but their role before the occurrence must be strengthened. In most of the cases of highway accidents in Bangladesh, the spot is almost never found without fatalities. Especially reckless driving in special occasions mentioned earlier, end up with a larger number of fatalities and in most of the cases with dead and badly disfigured drivers themselves. Little strict coordination of related institutions of the government can deal with these mishaps. It’s about saving lives of people, on their way to home or work or elsewhere.


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