The Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) has been directed by the government to keep highways clear of illegal vehicles like the Nosimon and Karimon that cannot run at 60kmph. The BRTA had issued similar bans before too. Back in August 2015, authorities banned all three-wheelers in 22 highways and the ban went nowhere because simply issuing a directive without taking into consideration the problems of enforcement is likely to fail. It is not only illegally constructed vehicles and three-wheelers which cannot meet the new speed limit being talked about, but the vast majority of vehicles, likes trucks laden with goods, cannot meet this speed criteria either.
Yes, something needs to be done about the increasing number of crashes on highways. According to the non-government organisation National Committee to Protect Shipping, Roads and Railways, there were more than 2,400 crashes in the first eight months of this year resulting in at least 2,873 casualties. However, we should be realistic in our expectations.
While banning illegal vehicles like slow-speed three-wheelers Nosimon and Karimon, which are mostly used for either carrying people or goods in rural areas, is imperative, alternatives should be considered to replace them. If they cannot be replaced, then we have to consider the construction of a slow lane on either side of our highways. If 60kmph is the minimum speed limit that will be adhered to from now on, then the slow lane is where slow-moving trucks will move. These are the realities and we expect a more professional response from our authorities to stem the rising death toll due to accidents. Ad hoc measures like banning one type of vehicle or the other will not yield desired results.