The traffic police also expressed disappointment over public behaviour in this regard
Despite protests and movements demanding road safety on many occasions in the past, there have been no improvements as deaths caused by reckless driving are still commonplace.
While travelling from Moghbazar to Dhaka airport by a Balaka Transport bus on Monday, it was seen that the situation remained the same as it was two-three years ago.
Ignoring the bus stops, the buses were found picking up and dropping off passengers wherever they wanted. Even in the middle of the road, passengers were allowed to get on and alight as drivers slowed down their vehicles.
At the Saat Rasta point on Tongi Diversion Road, a bus was found blocking another bus of the same transport company.
Later, these two buses ran recklessly to compete with each other, which ended at Chairman Bari of Banani after one of them had overtaken the other.
Sometimes, passengers shouted at the driver, asking him to drive carefully but the driver paid no attention.
Passenger Salma Islam, a middle-aged woman, said: "We are always anxious because an accident can happen anytime because of such reckless driving."
Another passenger Rafiqul Amin said he found no improvement in the mentality of drivers, helpers and even passengers.
"I still find the same thing I found one or two years back. Reckless driving, violation of traffic rules and indiscipline on roads are still commonplace," he said.
When asked, the driver claimed that he was doing everything accordingly and asked not to interfere with him.
Discipline on roads was the main issue of the nine-point demand of the students' protest in July last year.
Among the nine demands, three have been met partially while the remaining six are yet to be met.
One of the main demands was that errant drivers should receive capital punishment and it must be incorporated in the law.
Against this demand, trials of some accused drivers are going on and parliament passed the Road Safety Act 2018 with a five-year jail term or a fine of Tk5 lakh or both for deaths caused by reckless driving.
The government has yet to make the law effective in the face of objections from bus owners and drivers.
What is more alarming is that there has been no change in the mentality and activities of the owners and drivers in practice.
After the Kurmitola accident and students' protests, which drew huge public support and took the authorities by surprise, many similar accidents took place in the city.
On August 27, a Trust Transport bus hit Krishna Roy at Banglamotor while she was walking on the pavement. She lost one of her legs in the accident.
The investigation found that the bus driver, Morshed, had a licence for driving vehicles of medium category. He was driving a 40-seat bus which is a violation of the law.
Just two weeks ago, a Victor Classic Transport bus killed a man in Uttara. The driver did not have the licence to drive a 45-seat bus. Nor did he have proper documents of the bus. Moreover, there were several cases against the bus.
Although one of the demands of the students was that no vehicles should be allowed on road without proper fitness certificate and no driver should be allowed to drive without licence, nothing has improved in this regard.
Bangladesh Road Transport Authority data show some 4.79 lakh vehicles are running without valid licence and fitness certificate.
"Even a person walking on pavement is not safe. So, who is safe in this city?" said Al Amin, a banker.
"Though buses are supposed to run on the road, none can ensure that you will not be hit by a bus when you are on the pavement," he added.
"In the last one year, there was no visible improvement in the capital's transport system, except that more bikers now wear helmets. However, some structural changes are going on which will have a positive impact in the future," said Ilias Kanchan, renowned actor and convenor of Nirapad Sarak Chai (We want safe roads) movement.
The government has taken up a project to train 5 lakh drivers free of cost. It has already been passed in the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council. Under the project, 1,400 trainers are now receiving training so they can train drivers later.
The armed forces will implement 60 percent of the project.
"At present, drivers do not have any training in discipline and behaviour. If this project is implemented accordingly, discipline on roads will come about," said Ilias Kanchan.
Student protesters also demanded that a foot overbridge is built or alternative arrangements are made at the spot of the July 29 accident to ensure road safety, but this demand is not yet fulfilled.
The demand for setting up speed bumps in every accident-prone area has not been met either.
There are problems from the passengers' side as well. Despite massive awareness programmes operated by traffic police and other agencies, passengers are still violating traffic rules. Many are seen crossing roads arbitrarily though there are foot overbridges nearby.
Kawser Alam, who was crossing the road at Banglamotor, said he did not use the foot overbridge because others were crossing the road in the same way.
The traffic police also expressed disappointment over public behaviour in this regard.
"How many times and how many people can we ask to use the foot overbridges and zebra crossings?" said a traffic policeman.
According to Nirapad Sarak Chai data, in the first eight months of 2019, some 2,714 accidents occurred across the country, leaving 3,068 dead and 5,377 wounded.
In 2018, the number of accidents was 3,103. Of the victims, 7,425 sustained injuries and 3,699 died.