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TTHHEE SSTTAATTUUSS PPAAPPEERR OONN RROOAADD SSAAFFEETTYY PPRROOBBLLEEMMSS IINN BBAANNGGLLAADDEESSHH The Bangladesh
TTHHEE SSTTAATTUUSS PPAAPPEERR OONN
RROOAADD SSAAFFEETTYY PPRROOBBLLEEMMSS
IINN BBAANNGGLLAADDEESSHH
The Bangladesh Country Paper

THE STATUS PAPER ON ROAD SAFETY PROBLEMS IN BANGLADESH

The Bangladesh Country Paper

Introduction This paper presents a brief overview of the status of the road safety problems in Bangladesh by highlighting the scale and characteristics of road traffic accidents. It also discusses some initiatives taken by the government of Bangladesh in an effort to address road safety challenges. Most recent advances made in this regard are also highlighted.

Total Accident Statistics

According to the official statistics, there were at least 3334 fatalities and 3740 injuries in 4114 reported accidents in 2003.Trends of reported road traffic accidents are given in Table 1. It is estimated that the actual fatalities could well be 10000-12000 each year. Significant fluctuations in the numbers of fatalities and injuries as reported by police clearly reflect the problems of reporting and recording inconsistencies. The number of fatalities has been increasing from 1009 in 1982 to 3334 in 2003, nearly 3.5 times in 22 years period. The statistics revealed that Bangladesh has one of the highest fatality rates in road accidents, over 100 deaths per 10,000 motor vehicles. About 70 percent of road accident fatalities occurred in rural areas including rural sections of national highways.

Table 1: Number of Road Accidents, Fatalities, and Injuries in Bangladesh

 

No. of Accidents

No. of Fatalities

No. of Injuries

Total Casualties

Traffic

               

fatalities per

Year

10,000

FIR

MAAP

FIR

MAAP

FIR

MAAP

FIR

MAAP

vehicles (on

road vehicle)

1998

4769

3533

3085

2358

3997

3297

7082

5655

137.4

1999

4916

3948

3314

2893

3453

3469

6767

6362

143.1

2000

4357

3970

3430

3058

1911

3485

5341

6543

142.6

2001

4091

2925

3109

2388

3127

2565

6236

4953

123.2

2002

4918

3941

3398

3053

3772

3285

7170

6338

126.2

2003

4749

4114

3289

3334

3818

3740

7107

7074

116.1

2004

3917

3566

2968

3150

2752

3026

5720

6176

102.9

2005

4949

3322

3187

2960

2754

2570

5941

5530

97.6

Total

36666

29319

25780

23194

25584

25437

51364

48631

 

* Note: Vehicles on road excluding motorcycle and others non-motorized vehicles

Source: Police Reported Accidents and BRTA

Traffic Accident Trends in Bangladesh 5000 4000 3000 No. of Accidents 2000 No. of Fatalities
Traffic Accident Trends in Bangladesh
5000
4000
3000
No. of Accidents
2000
No. of Fatalities
1000
1998
1999
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
Year
Number

Figure 1: Road Traffic Accident Trends in Bangladesh

Pedestrians-The Most Vulnerable Road User Group

In Bangladesh, with a low level of motorization, the role of walk mode is quite significant. Pedestrians have received far less attention than vehicular traffic. Up to 61 percent of urban road accident deaths are pedestrians alone. Pedestrians accounted for 49 percent of all reported fatalities in the accident database (see Table 2). Indeed walking appears to be a major contributor to sustainable transport strategy. Pedestrians can still claim to be our most forgotten and neglected road user group. It is the motorists not pedestrians who normally receive the attention and greater share of priority. Pedestrians need protection in the form of facilities by ensuring their legitimacy, safety and convenience.

Table 2: Pedestrian Fatalities in Bangladesh

convenience. Table 2: Pedestrian Fatalities in Bangladesh     Percent of pedestrian fatalities (out of all)
   

Percent of pedestrian fatalities (out of all)

Traffic

Pedestrian

Pedestrian

Year

Pedestrian

fatalities

fatalities

fatalities per

fatalities

per million

per million

10,000

population

population

vehicles *

1998

1275

51%

20.1

10.17

53.2

1999

1532

49%

24.2

11.86

61.2

2000

1517

47%

25.2

11.80

59.6

2001

1262

50%

19.4

9.62

46.9

2002

1678

52%

24.6

12.67

58.4

2003

1687

48%

26.7

12.74

55.5

2004

1609

49%

24.5

11.96

50.3

2005

1491

50%

22.8

11.55

45.7

Total

11424

49%

23.9

11.74

53.9

* Note: Vehicles on road excluding motorcycles and others non-motorized vehicles

Source: RSC Report 2004, BRTA and MAAP Data Base

Involvement of Children in Road Accidents

The national road accidents statistics in Bangladesh revealed a serious threat to the children. The incidence of overall child involvement in road accident fatalities in Bangladesh is found to be very high, accounting for about 21 percent (see Table 3). This involvement of children less than 15 years of age in road accident fatalities is much higher than those in other developing countries. It is important to note that compared with industrialized countries, the proportion of fatalities to under 15 years of age in developing countries is approximately two and half times higher.

Table 3: Child Fatalities of Road Traffic Accidents in Bangladesh

 

Children

Children

Children

Total children

Percent children fatalities (out of all)

Year

fatalities

fatalities

fatalities

fatalities

(age 0--5)

(age 6--10)

(age 11--15)

(age 0-15)

1998

82

210

122

414

22%

1999

71

221

148

440

19%

2000

99

224

150

473

21%

2001

68

173

102

343

21%

2002

67

210

108

385

21%

2003

68

216

111

395

20%

2004

86

182

103

371

21%

2005

73

140

103

316

21%

Total

614

1576

947

3137

21%

Note: Traffic fatalities with known age within seven years are 15278 (66%) out of 23194 in the period of 1998-2004

Source: MAAP Data Base

Over Involvement of Trucks and Buses Studies of road accidents revealed that heavy vehicles such
Over Involvement of Trucks and Buses Studies of road accidents revealed that heavy vehicles such

Over Involvement of Trucks and Buses

Studies of road accidents revealed that heavy vehicles such as trucks and buses including minibuses are major contributors to road accidents (bus/minibus 33%, trucks 27%) and in fatal accidents their shares are 35% and 29% respectively. This group of vehicles is particularly over involved in pedestrian accidents accounting for about 68 percent (bus/minibus 38%, trucks 30%). For the case of road death, the share of buses and trucks are nearly 70 percent (bus/minibus 36%, trucks 24%) and for pedestrian about 72 percent (bus/minibus 40%, trucks 32%).

Table 4: Different Types of Vehicle Involvement in Road Accidents and Percent of Death

 

Percent

           

Vehicle types

of

vehicles

Percent of vehicles (on road) 2

Percent in

all

Percent

in fatal

Percent in

pedestrian

Percent

Death

Percent

Pedestrian

(register

accidents

accidents

accidents

Death

ed) 1

 

Bus/Minibus

5%

6%

33%

35%

38%

36%

40%

Trucks

8%

10%

26%

29%

30%

24%

32%

Jeep/Car/Taxi

24%

16%

12%

7%

9%

5%

5%

Microbus/Pickup

2%

3%

7%

6%

9%

7%

8%

Auto

             

rickshaw/Tempo

15%

16%

5%

5%

3%

9%

4%

Motorcycle

42%

45%

5%

5%

4%

5%

3%

Rickshaws/Rickshaw

             

Van

0%

0%

5%

4%

1%

5%

0%

Bi-cycle

0%

0%

3%

3%

0%

4%

0%

Others

3%

3%

5%

6%

6%

6%

7%

Total

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

100%

Notes:

1. Total number of vehicles registered is 784347 in 2003

2. Total number of vehicles on road is 485228 in (2001-2002)

Source: BRTA, BBS and MAAP Data Base

Vehicle Involvement in Road Accidents 50 40 30 Registered vehicles On road vehicles Fatal accidents
Vehicle Involvement in Road Accidents
50
40
30
Registered vehicles
On road vehicles
Fatal accidents
Ped'n accidents
20
10
0
Name of vehicle
Bus/Minibus
Trucks
Jeep/Car/Taxi
Microbus/Pickup
Percent
Auto rickshaw/T
Motorcycle

Figure 2: Vehicle involvement in road traffic accidents

Vehicle Statistics and their Involvement in Road Fatalities Table 5 shows the registered and on
Vehicle Statistics and their Involvement in Road Fatalities Table 5 shows the registered and on

Vehicle Statistics and their Involvement in Road Fatalities

Table 5 shows the registered and on road vehicular statistics. It also shows the yearly fatalities contributed by specific vehicle types along with fatality rates per 10000 vehicles of those categories.

Table 5: Number of Vehicles, Fatalities and Fatality Rates

           

Pedestrian

Vehicle Types

Number of

Vehicles

(Registered)

Number of

Vehicles (On

Road)

Avg. Fatalities per Year 3

Avg. Pedestrian Fatalities per Year 3

Fatalities

per 10000

Vehicles 4

(on Road)

Fatalities

per 10000

Vehicles 4

(on Road)

Bus/Minibus

40469

29717

1005

545.13

338.3

183.4

Trucks

65239

48753

673

426.75

138.0

87.5

Jeep/Car/Taxi

189287

78236

133

63.00

17.0

8.1

Microbus/Pickup

18492

14743

193.88

112.25

131.5

76.1

Auto rickshaw/Tempo

116242

77700

246.63

58.25

31.7

7.5

Motorcycle

328294

220225

147.00

45.25

6.7

2.1

Rickshaw/Rickshaw Van

N/A

N/A

129.25

2.88

N/A

N/A

Bi-cycle

N/A

N/A

105.63

3.63

N/A

N/A

Others

26324

15854

172.13

89.25

108.6

56.3

Total

784347

485228

2805.25

1346.38

57.8

27.7

*Note:

1. Total number of vehicles registered is 784347 in 2003

2. Total number of vehicles on road is 485228 in (2001-2002)

3. Traffic fatalities with known vehicle involvement in the period of 1998-2005. There were a total of 23194 fatalities out of which

vehicle involvement were known for 22442 (97%) fatalities.

4. Fatalities per 10000 respective vehicles

Accidents on National Highways

Of the total reported accidents nearly 37 percent occurred on national highways. Almost 30 percent of total accidents on national highways are occurring only in 4 percent of total kilometrage. Hazards associated with roads and roadsides were particularly predominant. Adverse roadway elements contributing to highway accidents were substandard road way alignment or geometry, lack of shoulders and shoulder defects, absent or inappropriate pedestrian facilities, narrow and defective lanes and bridges/bridge approaches, roadside hazards, undefined pavement centre and edge lines, poor sight distances and visibility, unmarked and inappropriate design of intersections, serious delineation deficiencies along the route, haphazard bus shelters/stops, and others. In many of these cases “running-off-road” accidents involved vehicles leaving the carriageway and falling down the unprotected steep drops into ditches, accounting for nearly 60 percent of total, “ running-off-road” and “out-of-control” accidents. Roadside trees were involved in about 20 percent of these accident types. Studies are underway at Accident Research Centre for identification and treatments of hazardous road locations using standard definitions, criteria and methods together with field observations so that the cost effective countermeasures particularly low cost countermeasures can be devised for highway safety improvements.

Predominant Accident Types

Accident type analysis showed ‘hit pedestrian’ as the dominant accident type both in urban and rural areas, 45 percent involvement in fatal accidents. Other common accident types are: rear end collision (16.5%), head on collision (13.2%) and overturning (9.3%). These four accident types account for nearly 85 percent of the fatal accidents. In rural areas, accident types which are highly overrepresented in fatalities and injuries are ‘hit pedestrian’, ‘head-on’, ‘running-off-the-road’ and ‘out-of-control’ vehicles. Indeed the running-off-road accident has the highest rate of about 19 casualties per accident. Frequent and most severe consequences of overloaded buses hitting bridge rails and plunged into deep ditches appeared to be of considerable concern.

Contributing Factors in Road Accidents

The principal contributing factors of accidents are adverse roadway roadside environment, poor detailed design of junctions and road sections, excessive speeding, overloading, dangerous overtaking, reckless driving, carelessness of road users, failure to obey mandatory traffic regulations, variety of vehicle characteristics and defects in vehicles and conflicting use of roads. Others include a low level of awareness of the safety problems, inadequate and unsatisfactory education, safety rules and regulations and traffic law enforcement and sanctions.

Road Safety Organizations and Strategic Action Plan

Road safety action requires the involvement of many different disciplines and the cooperation of the wide range of government, private and civil sectors with the firm governmental/ organizational commitment. The recognition of the seriousness of road accident problem by the government of Bangladesh is reflected by various measures taken to combat the alarming situation, (Quazi, 2003). The National Road Safety Council (NRSC) was established in 1995, which drew up National Road Safety "Strategic Action Plan" covering the period from July 1997 to June 1999. Subsequently the

National Road Safety Council (NRSC) of Bangladesh formulated an updated “National Road Safety Strategic Action Plan 2005-2007” which provides an important opportunity for improving safety in a comprehensive way and makes an effort to approach the issue holistically. The action plan, with the actions in nine sectors are further classified into several sub-sectors. Actions were separately specified for each lead agency. The concept of multiple lead-agencies being responsible for one action is untenable and therefore dropped. Lead agents must contribute to the specification of outputs. In this manner, the outputs will be consistent with the lead agent's works program, budget provisions and technical resources, and lead agents are more likely to take ownership of outputs they specify. A vision and goal for road safety improvement was stated in the plan.

goal for road safety improvement was stated in the plan. • The vision- fifty percent reduction

The vision- fifty percent reduction in the annual number of fatal road accidents within the next fifteen years.

The goal- ten percent reduction in the annual number of road accident fatalities by the end of the year 2007 (NRSC 2005).

Currently there are two core organizations responsible for preparing national policy on road safety and ensuring its implementation. These are National Road Safety Council (NRSC) and Road Safety Cell (RSC). The NRSC acts as apex body for approving and driving forward the national policy and plans. Besides NRSC, District Road Safety Committees (DRSCs) at the district and metropolitan levels have been formed to undertake local road safety programs according to local needs. The Road Safety Action Plan identified the nine priority sector activities for improving road safety. The nine sectors are:

I. Planning, Management and Co-ordination of Road safety National and local multi-sectoral plans under the guidance of the National Road Safety Council and monitored by the BRTA and RSC.

II. Road Traffic Accident Data System

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

To establish an accurate and comprehensive National accidents and casualties database to identify problems and remedial measures.

Road Safety Engineering Safety-conscious planning, design, construction and maintenance of roads and improve hazardous locations using low-cost engineering measures and road safety audit.

Road and Traffic Legislation Revise and update traffic legislation promoting road user compliance with regulations intended to maintain a safe and efficient traffic flow.

Traffic Enforcement Effective and efficient implementation of Traffic Law and capacity building of Traffic Police through the use of modern training, equipment and expanded power.

Driver Training and Testing To ensure minimum standards for driver competence through improved driver training and testing procedures.

Vehicle Safety To improve the road worthiness of vehicles to reduce the negative impact of transport on the environment, especially in terms of air pollution.

Road Safety Education and Publicity To improve the knowledge, attitudes and behavior of all road users,

Medical Services for Road traffic Accident Victims To Improve the emergency assistance, hospital care and rehabilitation.

the emergency assistance, hospital care and rehabilitation. Indeed, the activities for the focus of the strategic

Indeed, the activities for the focus of the strategic action plan are similar to those covered by the ADB/ESCAP road safety guidelines (ADB, 1997). It is increasingly apparent that non-governmental groups have a key role to play in dealing with road safety problems.

Establishment of Accident Research Center (ARC) at BUET

Road safety research provides the framework for making effective policy decisions and for cost- effective investment in road safety. In response to the growing accident problem in Bangladesh, the concerned authorities have started to realize the need for scientific study and research regarding the causes of accident and commensurate remedial measures. The highest level of commitment in this regard came from the Honorable Prime Minister to establish an independent Accident Research Centre (ARC) within the top priority programs of the government. Accordingly the ARC has been established at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (BUET) in 2002 to carry out scientific research for clear understanding of the road safety problems and ascertaining the underlying causative factors, which contribute to accidents on roads, railways and waterways. In addition, ARC is expected to play major role to develop pragmatic, cost-effective scientific solutions and bring about significant improvements in the capability of the

pragmatic, cost-effective scientific solutions and bring about significant improvements in the capability of the 6
pragmatic, cost-effective scientific solutions and bring about significant improvements in the capability of the 6

professionals and workers in the field of transportation to a meaningful level of expertise for accident prevention and injury control and thereby contribute to the safer road environment for all users and operators. Importantly, ARC conducts appropriate training programs and workshops to develop qualified human resources for professional capacity building and also for creating mass awareness on road safety. Collaborative external assistance and requisite resources are vital for accomplishing these requirements in Bangladesh. Training local staff and research capacity building in the above skills appears to be of utmost importance and offer significant challenges. Efforts are underway for integrating different organizations both at public and private sectors, civil societies, communities and individuals towards identifying their specific roles and responsibilities and thereby developing effective measures to tackle road safety problems. ARC is also exploring avenues for exchanging knowledge and technologies through collaboration with an extensive number of renowned overseas institutions, organizations and universities etc. at local, regional and international levels.

Concluding Remarks:

With the process of rapid economic growth together with increasing motorization and urbanization, the situation of road safety problems has been worsening in many developing and so called emerging countries. The road traffic accidents and injury statistics also revealed a deteriorating safety situation in Bangladesh. Addressing road safety problem is a considerable challenge to the transport and road safety professionals. There remains much scope for improving road safety and for that known and proven interventions need to be implemented with due urgency, ranging from education, engineering and enforcement. Importantly, initiatives to improve the conditions would require renewed governmental commitment and considerable resources particularly trained local personnel, safety specialists and researchers to build up indigenous capacity and attain sustainability of effective road safety programs.

The Government of Bangladesh with the effective support of the Accident Research Centre at the Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET) has been continuing its efforts towards mitigating road safety problems in Bangladesh. Of most importance of recent advances

are:

Consideration of designating a single central agency with the authority to address road safety

Development of a demonstration project for improving road safety

Establishment of roadside trauma centre

Establishment of Highway Police

Modernizing the licensing process to enhance skills of the drivers

Strict control of overloading of heavy vehicles

Modernization of vehicle fitness testing and inspections

Enhancement of Enforcement and Regulations

Establishment of advanced driver training institutes

Road safety component has now been given explicit consideration in the upgrading, rehabilitation and new road schemes etc.