Overworked Underpaid Bangladesh Bus Drivers Say Accidents Not Entirely Their Fault


DHAKA – Khurshid Alam says he pulls 17-hour shifts three days a week driving a private bus in Dhaka, where tens of thousands of students held angry protests for over a week demanding an end to rash driving that killed two teenagers late last month.

Prime Minister Sheik Hasina’s government has moved swiftly to defuse the protests that were threatening to spiral, with an eye on general elections due by the end of the year. On Monday, the cabinet approved raising the maximum jail time for rash driving deaths to five years from three.

Overworked and underpaid drivers like Alam are often blamed for Bangladesh’s high traffic casualty rate – road accidents kill or injure at least five people an hour in the country – and the resentment against them has been aggravated by the deaths of the two students last Friday.

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