Eight people were killed and 18 others injured when a bus plunged into a roadside ditch after smashing through a railing of a bridge in Faridpur Sadar Upazila on Saturday. Among those killed were six passengers, the bus supervisor, and the rider of a motorcycle which the bus collided with before swerving off the road.
Reportedly, the driver of the bus was speeding heavily and was attempting to overtake a slow-moving three-wheeler—which, on paper, is banned from plying highways, but not in reality, it seems. It was at this point that the bus ended up hitting the motorbike coming from the opposite side, to then break through the railing of the bridge and fall into the 15-foot-deep ditch along with the motorcycle.
The bridge itself is in poor condition with parts of its railing having been fitted with bamboos. Although the portion of the bridge where the bus veered off had steel railing, the fact that parts of the bridge’s railing were “temporarily fixed” with bamboos and left like that for at least six months, is appalling.
The causes that led to the accident and eight needless deaths in this particular instance—reckless driving, failure to enforce the ban on three-wheelers from running on highways and poor condition of the bridge—are things we have become all too familiar with. But the overall cost of failing to address them is way higher if we look at it from a broader perspective—for example, at least 180 people were killed and 344 injured in 130 road accidents that happened in a span of about eight days during the Eid rush.
That the authorities continue to turn a blind-eye to the high number of tragedies that occur on our roads and highways every day, despite concerns expressed by citizens of all age and walks of life, is unacceptable. We call on the authorities to wake up and immediately make a course correction.