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BRAC, WB to support govt in halving road fatalities by 2030

Munima Sultana | October 25, 2020 00:00:00

The World Bank and BRAC have joined hands to work together with the government on road safety issues aiming at reducing road fatalities 50 per cent by 2030.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between BRAC and World Bank (WB) on Saturday for improving road safety in Bangladesh.

An online event titled 'Road Safety Collaboration: Reducing road fatalities 50% by 2030' was held on Saturday in this connection.

WB Acting Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan Dandan Chen, BRAC Executive Director Asif Saleh and Director of BRAC Road Safety Programme Ahmed Najmul Hussain and WB's Senior Transport Specialist Dipon Bose spoke at the event.

The minister also inaugurated a Road Safety Awareness Campaign along the 48 KM Jessore-Jhenaidah corridor as part of the partnership.

The campaign will complement the World Bank supported WeCARE project.

The project WeCare, approved in June 2020 and aims to upgrade the existing two-lane highway, Bhomra-Satkhira-Navaron and Jesshore-Jhenidah road to a safer four-lane highway.

According to the WB, about 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents globally which is fourth leading cause of death of children aged between 05 and 14 in Bangladesh. Sixty seven percent of victims are within the 15-49 age group.

Admitting that the road accidents occur every day, the road transport and bridges minister said all kinds of developments get faded if roads and transports are operated in undisciplined manner.

"Though a pragmatic change has been visible in the country's road network, road safety remains a challenge due to multifarious factors including unruly driving and lack of consciousness among road users," he added.

He also admitted that Road Transport Act 2018 despite making effective could not be executed fully due to some practical reasons.

Praising the BRAC and WB to join with the government's effort to ensure road safety in the country, the minister who is also ruling party's general secretary, called upon them to strengthen BRAC's effort to train up professional drivers including female ones at district and upazila level.

He said female drivers by nature drive cautiously and abide by traffic rules.

The WB acting country director said road safety has become an economic and development priority for any country and hoped that the collaboration will support exchange of knowledge and raise awareness among stakeholders to reduce fatalities and injuries from road accidents.

Ms Dandan said the partnership with BRAC will reinforce the government support to National Road Safety Programme for improving road safety in both rural and urban areas in Bangladesh.

This will help the country adopt interventions based on the Safe-System Approach, including safe roads and safe behaviours, as recommended globally.

BRAC executive director said the government, development partners, non-government organisations and most importantly the citizens need to work together in finding more comprehensive long term systemic solutions to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of reducing traffic fatalities by 50 per cent.

Since 2011, under BRAC's community road safety awareness programme, over 1.2 million people have received training on the safe use of roads. In addition, 5,451 schoolteachers and 498,000 school children have received special awareness training on road safety.

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