Road accidents are a part of an everyday scenario in Bangladesh and as of June 2019, statistics show that almost 3000 people have been killed just six months into the year. It can be easily be pointed out that if proper precautions are taken, most road accidents can be avoided and that is why road safety is a top priority now and hence, Sustainable Development Goal 3.6 is to halve the number of global deaths and injuries from road traffic accidents by 2020.
The Main Causes of Road Accidents and why this Campaign Was Initiated:
Irresponsible behavior and a thrive to show power have been leading towards the increasing number of accidents that occur every other day. As a preventive measure, ‘My Road | My Responsibility’, has been initiated to eliminate such occurrences. Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) has been managing the traffic situation with their utmost dedication and importance, but they believe the root of the problem lies in the unawareness of the common people. In trying to educate the citizens about road safety, JAAGO Foundation’s youth wing- Volunteer for Bangladesh (VBD) has partnered with the DMP to form this campaign, which is being financed by Suzuki-Bangladesh. The streets will be seen guided by the yellow army at different spots of Dhaka city and this initiative has been taken to inform people about the basic traffic rules and regulations that they need to abide by, in order to avoid any unwanted incidents. Most accidents occur because of reckless driving, not giving importance to the red stop sign of the signal, not using the footbridge and the increase in number of unfit drivers.
The second phase of, ‘My Road | My Responsibility’ took place on October 15th, 2019, where volunteers worked in conjunction at four zones of Dhaka North- Kakoli, Banani-11, Gulshan-1 & Gulshan-2. The main objective of this campaign is to highlight the importance of road safety and how responsible and aware citizens can make a big difference. The people of our country are given proper directions and instructions which will help them know the basic rules while being on the road. In the latest campaign, Mayor Atiqul Islam of Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) showed his gracious support by being with the volunteers to promote the project and teach the pedestrians about the correct way of driving vehicles and following the regulations of the signal and road security. DMP was overwhelmed by the initiative and positive response of the people, which is why the volunteers were taken to their office to be appreciated by them later on.
Promoting Road Safety through the Campaign:
The statistics recorded show only a percentage of the real accidents that occur because most of them go unrecorded. Being a developing country with the economy still progressing, the fatality rate from road accidents is prominently higher than most countries. During this campaign, the yellow army aims to enlighten the citizens with safety measures that can be taken to avoid any unfortunate incident such as- wearing motorcycle helmets, slowing down when approaching an intersection, using the footpath instead of walking on the main street, not using the cellphone while crossing the road, to not drink and drive, to watch your surrounding while making a turn, to stay focused and much more. Pedestrians need to feel that it is their moral duty to follow these rules as anything enforced doesn’t last that long and that is what the team of VBD hopes to preach through this project.
Our Responsibilities as Citizens:
As long as we as individuals don’t take the necessary precautions to make a safe environment, we can’t expect any changes. Even when people are aware of the rules, they choose to not follow them as they try to take the risk. However, they usually forget that luck might not favor them every time and this might have an adverse effect on their lives. Therefore, proper planning and guidelines need to be set for people to follow. The motive is to make the residents take responsibilities for their actions and to move to a better and safer place so that people feel secured to travel. This vision of VBD can only be properly instilled if the citizens cooperate and go along with the rules made.
It can only be possible to see a positive change by changing the way we process things. At the end of the day, it is our responsibility to work in union for a more secure future. As individuals try to educate those who are breaking the rules instead of participating in their wrongdoing. Every life matter, so take accountability before it is too late.