Seatbelts in Bangladesh

In Bangladesh, many people do not fasten their seatbelt when riding around Dhaka. Moreover, there aren’t any carseat laws to protect small children either. We all begin to believe that because traffic is slow and congested, these safety precautions are just not necessary. This is a complete incorrect assumption. Even if your car is travelling at a slow speed, if for some reason there is an accident you will get injured if you are not wearing your seatbelt.

2009 was a difficult year for me just because I failed to refasten my seatbelt after going to the bank. The brakes on my car failed with the only option being to stop the car which was moving at only 10mph by hitting a tree. My husband was driving and I was sitting in the front sit. We were only returning home after dropping our son off at school and going to the bank. So, when I came back from the ATM I didn’t fasten my seat belt. Don’t know why I didn’t, but it was the worst mistake I ever made. If you know the Gulshan area of Dhaka, we were driving on Road 84 that the Australian Club is on. We were approaching the intersection when my husband found the brakes had no pressure and made a decision on the spot. He told me what he was going to do, but it didn’t register fast enough and before I knew it my head had hit the windshield. I must have blacked out briefly when my head impacted the windshield because I only remember my head hurting really bad after the car stopped. I pulled my head back as carefully as possible and that’s when my husband saw me. A rickshaw stopped near us and got us to United Hospital.

The Emergency Room people there cleaned me up while the Neurosurgeon was called. One of the bad things about Dhaka is that if you have an emergency before 10am and after 8pm the senior doctors are not available. After reaching their the nurses had me change clothes and they began cleaning and wrapping the wound. They did this several times before my husband stepped in and told them they needed to stitch my wound closed, at least temporarily. The doctors their resisted doing this because their senior staff were not present, yet. Finally, my husband ordered them to do it. After the stitching was done, the Neurosurgeon arrived and I was taken into surgery. After a 6 hour surgery the Neurosurgeon advised that it had gone well and that I was lucky, but one of my eye lids skin was severely damaged. Once I had recovered for a few weeks from the accident and the surgery, I had to have another surgery to replace the eyelid.

I imagine that Bangladesh also has laws about wearing seatbelts just as the U.S. does, but they are not enforced. The congestion in the city makes it impossible to do this. I hope someday the government is able to introduce similar practices as followed in the west for the betterment of society. Now when I go out, I always where my seatbelt. I hope you do, too.