The World Bank and BRAC on Saturday signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate in a programme on improving road safety in Bangladesh.
At an online event, they also launched a road safety awareness campaign along the 48‑kilometre Jashore‑Jhenaidah corridor as part of the partnership, said a press release issued by the WB.
The programme titled ‘Road Safety Collaboration: Reducing Road Fatalities 50% by 2030’ was inaugurated by road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader.
The release said that the collaboration would support exchange of knowledge and raise awareness among stakeholders to reduce casualties from road accidents and help the country to adopt interventions based on the safe-system approach, including safe roads and safe behaviours.
The partnership will promote safety for women in public transport systems and facilitate training and skills building for drivers, including women drivers.
Globally about 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents while in Bangladesh, road accidents are the fourth leading cause of death in children aged between 5 and 14 years and 67 per cent of the victims are within the 15-49 age group, the release said.
At the programme, the road transport minister said that they had taken actions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of cutting the number of road traffic fatalities by half within the next decade.
‘With more awareness and safer behaviours by road users, training of drivers, and better roads, Bangladesh is taking a comprehensive approach for ensuring road safety,’ he said.
He also assured that his ministry would provide full support regarding the training and employment of female drivers.
WB acting country director in Bangladesh Dandan Chen said that road safety had become an economic and development priority for any country.
He also added that the partnership would improve road safety in both rural and urban areas of Bangladesh.
BRAC executive director Asif Saleh said that the government, development partners, non-government organisations and, most importantly, the citizens need to work together to find more comprehensive long-term systemic solutions to reduce traffic fatalities by 50 per cent.
The awareness campaign along the Jashore‑Jhenaidah corridor will also complement the WB‑supported WeCARE project aimed at upgrading the existing two‑lane Bhomra‑Satkhira‑Navaron and Jashore‑Jhenaidah highways into safer four-lane highways.
BRAC Road Safety Programme director Ahmed Najmul Hussain attended the programme, among others.
BRAC’s driving school initiative Women Behind the Wheels has so far trained 214 women professional drivers.
According to the first information reports prepared by the Bangladesh Police, 2,211 people were killed and 2,113 were injured in 2,291 road accidents till July this year.
In 2019, at least 4,138 people were killed and 4,411 injured in 4,147 road accidents compared to 2,635 people killed and 1,920 injured in 2,609 accidents in 2018.
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