By Md. Kamruzzaman
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) - More than 5,000 casualties in road accidents across Bangladesh in 2019 marked an alarming rise compared to figures in previous year, said a report published on Saturday.
In 2019, deaths in road crashes in Bangladesh reached 5,227 -- 788 more people killed compared to 2018, Nirapad Sarak Chai (We want safe roads), a non-profit organization on road safety, said in its annual report.
A total of 4,439 people were killed in road crashes in 2018 in Bangladesh. The year was marked by a massive movement of teenage students across the south Asian country of 170 million people, following the death of two teenagers hit by a speedy bus in the capital Dhaka on July 29, the report added.
Teenagers then took control of the traffic management on main streets in Dhaka as well as some other mega cities of the country.
Shahidul Alam, a Bangladeshi prize-winning photographer, was then arrested during the movement after his interview with an international private television channel. The 63-year-old Alam, however, was released after 100 days behind the bars, following a world-wide criticism over the arrest.
Bangladesh's government also eased the movement with the assurance that necessary measures would be taken immediately to bring road accidents to a minimum level.
"We have been demanding the curbing of road accidents for more than two decades, but there is no considerable progress. I am really very frustrated," Ilias Kanchan, the head of the organization and a renowned film actor in the country, told Anadolu Agency.
He added in his written statement: "Uneducated and unskilled drivers, vehicles with technical faults, weak traffic management, lack of public awareness, uncontrolled speed of vehicles on roads, faulty road constructions, lack of political will and lack of proper implementation of traffic rules are the main causes behind the road accidents."
The film star lost his wife in a fatal road accident in 1993, and since then has been struggling for road safety. He began publishing annual road accident reports in 2012.
Citing government cooperation, he added that a separate unit should be formed under the Communication Ministry to assess the causes of road accidents, and find solutions.
"We have demanded the government to form separate cell or formally appoint us to do the work."