Far too many headlines of the past month have been about road fatalities, all involving buses.
There was Rajib Hossain, 22, who lost his arm and then his life when a bus crashed into another. There was Ayesha Khatun, 25, who was injured when two buses trying to overtake each other crushed the rickshaw she was in. There was Rozina Akhter, 16, who lost her right leg when a bus ran over her -- all in the month of April.
It is a fact that buses are the main culprits behind our alarmingly high road fatality rate, but despite some 3,000 road accidents taking place annually, year after year, bus companies continue to flout the rules, endangering lives on the road.
Unhealthy competition among bus companies, reckless driving, and a tendency to overtake vehicles are the main reasons the casualty numbers are so high.
Of course, the bus companies would like to pass on some of the responsibility, blaming pedestrians for some of the accidents, but that is a distraction that does not get to the heart of the problem -- the fact is, both the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority and the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority agree that rash driving is responsible for the vast majority of accidents.
It is estimated that there could be 3 million vehicles being driven by unqualified or unlicensed drivers, recklessly endangering the lives of all others on the road.
This is a problem that will only be solved by holding bus companies accountable, and being harsh on those who flout the rules.
Letting an unqualified driver get behind the wheel is, at best, criminal negligence -- this practice simply cannot be allowed to continue.