Do you know how many people die in road accidents in Bangladesh annually? Or do you have any idea how many people being physically paralysed owing to reckless attitude of driving in the world everyday?
Yes, you do but perhaps not the concrete statistics. Let me help you out. According to, World Health Organization (WHO), 1,40,000 people are injured and 3,000 are demised owing to road accidents everyday in this world. Every year above 12 lac people are died out of road accidents and up to 15,000 people are being permanently paralysed for this latent death-trap (World Health Day Brochure- 2006).
The scenario of Bangladesh in this issue is much alarming. Being a third world developing country, Bangladesh is facing its major setbacks. Although, Bangladesh is a river-oriented country but roads and highways are its main pivot of development. In accordance with a survey (2000) in Bangladesh, at least 8,000 people leave this world due to road accidents every year and 50% of this occurred while crossing road.
Road accident is a common phenomenon in this present climate. What is much concerning, it is on the increase. If we put a close attention on the subject and try to analyse its previous statistics, it would be more conspicuous to us. We are losing our many near and dear one for this cause and being paralysed they become a permanent burden for their family and sometimes it extends to society. But, if an iota of importance is given and necessary steps are taken, it is bound to bring a positive change. A few weeks back, I had a rare privilege to be in a training program on 'Road Safety Voluntarism', which is conducted by BRAC. BRAC is a forefront organization in international NGO arena and it is their new advocacy project which aims to equip a good number of people with an ABC of road safety. It occurred at BRAC Learning Centre (BLC), Uttara and the duration was 2.5 days (two and half day). I would like to share some core issues of it in a synopsis way.
The definition of road safety should be introduced first.
We would understand Road Safety by a set of rules, behaviours, values, practices and steps that help to alleviate road accidents, its risks and damages. To be more informal, we can say that Road Safety is a concept and practice which can reduce road accidents and create immune at roads for its pedestrians.
Road Safety is an enormous concept to be discussed in this write-up. But I would endeavour to bring most crucial themes of this topic. In my two part (I & II) writing, I will be talking about the rules and measures of Road Safety first and in the second part, would show, how a volunteer can revolutionize in his catchment area by his inter-personal skills in terms of Road Safety awareness.
· Moving on the Road -
People who are died in road accidents make up 60%-65% of the entire death-toll and the major portion of it happens during crossing road.
I. Walk along the right side of the road, so, transports that are coming from the opposite direction can be seen as well as possibilities of getting hit with the vehicles that are coming from backward might be evaded.
II. Always use side-walk/footpath.
III. If a group of people are walking together, then it is recommended to walk maintaining a queue.
· Crossing the Road -
01. In order to cross a road, find a safe place first.
02. Look for road signs like zebra crossing, foot over-bridge, under traffic lamp, under-pass etc. and use it.
03. Where these road signs are not available, find a place from road turn or bend where the road is seen from a distant place on either sides then cross the road.
04. Look carefully at both sides (left & right) of the road and cross it straight.
05. Sudden attempt of crossing road might reason of accident.
· Dress -
It is suggested, wearing colourful attire/dress as it dazzles when head-lights of vehicles shed light on the road and drivers could be aware of the passer-by.
· Getting into Moving Transport -
Generally, a major portion of people died while getting into and getting down from bus, tempo and so on, so extra caution is required to evade such events.
I. Do not get into and get down from any moving transport at any unauthorized bus-stop. If not possible, beckon to the vehicle from a safe place and get into when it lessens its speed.
II. Do not get into the bus while it is gridlocked. It may cause injure when jam is free.
III. Use left hand to hold handle and put right leg on the step to get into a bus. Yet, while getting down, use your right hand and left leg.
IV. Do not push/pull anyone in a crowd to get into a bus. It may create commotion.
V. It is risky, getting into a bus holding luggage with two hands.
· Sitting in a Transport -
01. Avoid to be a passenger of a jam-packed vehicle. It is risky as well as dangerous.
02. Do not ride on the terrace of a vehicle. It is a bad habit and is a punishable crime.
03. Avoid being a passenger of a track full of goods. It is rather risky.
04. Engine cover is unsafe and unhygienic, so stay away from it.
05. Hold something stout in the moving car.
06. Do not put your head and hands out of the window. It may cause harm by a vehicle coming from opposite direction.
07. Hold something strong while travelling on rickshaw.
08. While sitting on rickshaw or motor-bike it is imperative to organize scarf (for women only). It can be twisted and be reason of fatal accident.
09. Putting on helmet is mandatory. It will rescue head from hit.
10. To sit on motor-bike in one side is risky and it troubles the driver to control. So keeping two legs in two side is much immune.
· Rules for Children Pedestrian -
A huge portion of children are victimize of accident while crossing the road. The cardinal reason is, they do not have vivid idea of traffic rules. One school of thought says, a certain age limit of children (11 or 12 years) do not have sound knowledge on road distance, speed limit and time sense. Therefore, it is significant to introduce children with the ideas such as; which vehicle is how far, what speed they has, how fast it can come near and in that situation what should be done etc.
I. Hold hand of children during crossing the road.
II. Accompany someone adult with children while moving on the road.
III. Keep aloof them from the main portion of the road at the time of walking.
IV. Children should take help from duty traffic officer of the road.
V. Prohibiting children playing in the road. Roads are for movements of transports and pedestrians, not for any other uses.
Learning the bare minimum about Road Safety, can make a big difference in the entire transportation system. Road Safety is needed for reducing the risks for pedestrians, passengers, drivers and other road users. Taking Road Safety measures are important to downsize road accident related death, wound and financial lose. It will act as an axe to grind that means it will help situation under control and apt application of Traffic Law, can work wonders.