WB, BRAC team up to improve road safety

The partnership aims to reduce road fatalities by 50pc by ‘30

Staff Correspondent

25 October, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The World Bank and Bangladesh-based world’s leading NGO BRAC have joined hands to improve road safety all over the country.

They signed a Memorandum of Understanding at an online event styled: ‘Road Safety Collaboration: Reducing road fatalities by 50% by 2030’on Saturday to collaborate in this regard.

Minister of Road Transport and Bridges Obaidul Quader inaugurated the programme under this partnership.

As part of the partnership, a road safety awareness campaign was also launched along the 48-km Jashore-Jhenaidah corridor, World Bank’s Dhaka office says.

The campaign will complement the World Bank supported WeCARE project, which was approved in June 2020 aimed at upgrading the existing Bhomra-Satkhira-Navaron and Jashore-Jhenaidah two-lane highways into safer four-lane highways.

BRAC and WB will partner together to promote safety for women in public transport systems and conduct training and skill building for drivers, including women drivers.   

BRAC’s driving school’s initiative ‘women behind the wheels’ trained so far about 214 women as professional drivers.

Globally, about 1.35 million people die every year in road accidents. In Bangladesh, road crashes are the fourth leading cause of death of children aged between 5 and 14, and 67 percent of victims are within the 15-49 age group.

“Road safety has become an economic and development priority for any country,” said Dandan Chen WB’s Acting Country Director.

“We are proud to be part of the government’s commitment to better road safety through a National Road Safety Program. Our partnership with BRAC will reinforce the support to the program for improving road safety in both rural and urban areas in Bangladesh,” he added.

Bangladesh has taken action to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of cutting the number of road traffic fatalities by half within the next decade, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader noted.

“With more awareness and safer behaviors by road users, training of drivers, and better roads, Bangladesh is taking a comprehensive approach for ensuring road safety,” he pointed out.

The collaboration will support exchange of knowledge and raise awareness among stakeholders to reduce fatalities and injuries from road accidents.

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

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.

“I believe this joint initiative between BRAC and the World Bank will be a big step forward to take the road safety system in the project area to a new level,” said Asif Saleh, Executive Director of BRAC.

BRAC’S road safety programme director Ahmed Najmul Hussain hoped that more such community-driven awareness initiatives for the other highways may help reduce the number of road crashes in the country.