The serious implications of not following traffic rules
We are divided in most matters, starting from very important national issues to the most trivial of matters. Social media has provoked our tendency of debating even over the most obvious and settled of topics. If one person says that the sun rises in the East, you can be certain that someone would argue otherwise.
However, I am glad that I was able to identify at least one area where all the people in the country possess a harmonious view, irrespective of their educational, social, political, religious, racial, financial, cultural, official or any other background: The state of our traffic.
Common folk, who often raise their voices against violation of traffic rules, also do the same but very cautiously (I refrain from saying “cunningly”). When we are in a car, we blame rickshaws, motorcycles, buses, pedestrians; when we are in a rickshaw then we take the side of rickshaw-pullers blaming motorists; and when we are pedestrians we complain about everyone else.
What is unique is that all people have a common and implied understanding as not to adhere to the traffic laws from their respective positions. Such a fantabulous unity of more than 165 million people is unprecedented.
When we are on the streets, it’s almost as if we are in competition with each other — a race to the bottom as to who can violate more, who can go first by whatever means — pushing, hitting, bumping into each other’s vehicle showing absolute disregard to other commuters. Our roads and highways have become tantamount to a breeding ground for spreading disrespect, disregard, aggression, fury, disgust, distaste, and selfishness.
Bangladesh has been making rapid progress in every aspect of its national makeup, be it economic, social, or otherwise. Nevertheless, at the same time, it seems that we have yet to grasp the fundamentals of what it means to be civilized.
Have you noticed how a large number of our educated, well-off, and professional people are leaving the country, showing more love to the land of Justin Trudeau than our very own Bangladesh? Why is this happening? Is it only that they want a more secured life?
To me, the major reason is traffic law violation.
And so those who prioritize leading a stress-free life decide to leave Bangladesh. But if we simply decide to follow traffic rules, reduce the traffic jam even by 40%, it can very well pave the way to a better life for us all. We need to keep our educated and professional people in Bangladesh and stop the brain drain to other, more developed nations.
If my words somehow manage to reach our honourable prime minister — or indeed any of our leaders — I would humbly request her to do all that is required so that traffic rules are implemented and violators brought to book in the strictest possible manner.
This will certainly help us to grow as better human beings, and, in turn, help us build a better nation not just for us, but for our children as well.
Omar H Khan is a Barrister-at-Law, Advocate – Supreme Court of Bangladesh and a writer and devotes 40% of his life for pro-bono works and creating legal awareness.