Accidents like head-on collisions between vehicles have come down while those like skidding off the roads and into ditches are mostly seen
The expansion of the Dhaka-Chattogram Highway has virtually led to a decrease in accidents on the expressway that was once notorious for frequent such incidents, but reckless driving has risen.
Sources said the modes as well as the patterns of accidents on the busiest highway have also changed after the road renovation project.
According to the Accident Research Institute of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) and highway police, the number of accidents has come down to half following the widening of the road.
According to the Buet research in 2018, just a year after the highway extension, a total of 88 accidents took place and 118 people were killed and 262 others injured.
The number is around half that of the preceding two years that witnessed a total of at least 300 accidents that mean 150 each year.
However, in 2019, a total of 102 accidents took place and 138 people were killed and 229 injured.
The research finds that in the first two months of January and February of 2020, another 27 accidents took place while the death toll was 32 and the number of injuries was 55.
The main cause of the accident is reckless driving. After the road expansion, there is no long tailback and the number of road accidents has gone down on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway
Assistant Prof Kazi Md Shifun Newaz of Accident Research Institute (ARI) of the engineering university told The Business Standard that the main cause of the accident is reckless driving.
"After the road expansion, there is no long tailback. The number of road accidents has gone down on Dhaka-Chattogram Highway," he added.
In 2017 June, the government inaugurated the extended Dhaka-Chattogram Highway from two to four lanes.
Molla Mohammad Shahed, additional superintendent of police of Highway Police, Cumilla, told the Business Standard that the accidents on the highway have lowered after widening the road.
"The accident patterns have also changed. In most cases, we find the buses or covered vans, which the drivers lose their control over, fall into roadside ditches," he added.
Sources said accidents like head-on collisions between vehicles have come down while those like skidding off the roads and into the roadside ditches are mostly seen.
On Wednesday afternoon, a brick-laden truck lost its control at Gazaria point on the highway breaking the road divider, and ultimately hitting a bus and a private car. This caused at least a one-hour tailback on the highway.
Abdul Malek, 40, a driver of Dhaka Express with a 10-year experience, said before 2017, they had seen the incidents of confrontation of two vehicles on the highway regularly.
"Now the road is smooth and less traffic congestion happens that has also decreased the collision between two vehicles," he added.
According to a Shyamoli Paribahan driver Jasim Uddin, the drivers are now enjoying more traffic-free highway than that it was previously.
"Nowadays, collisions between vehicles are rare, but in most cases, drivers run recklessly for which they lose control over their vehicles and cause accidents after skidding off the road," he further said.