Bangladesh needs to invest an estimated extra $7.8 billion over the next decade to halve its road crash fatalities, according to a new World Bank report.
The high death rate on Bangladesh's roads is caused by chronic lack of investment in systemic, targeted, and sustained road safety programmes.
The report identifies relevant investment priorities to reverse the trend, according to a World Bank statement issued today.
The World Bank in cooperation with the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety in Stockholm released the report titled "Delivering Road Safety in Bangladesh" yesterday.
The report is part of a broader study on road safety in South Asia's eastern sub-region, comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal, that calls for regional measures to make roads and vehicles safer, even while making national-level actions a top priority.
The eastern sub-region accounts for an estimated 86 percent of South Asia's population, 92 percent of its vehicles, and 87 percent of its road crash fatalities.
"Years of rapid economic growth in South Asia, followed by a steep rise in vehicle ownership, have led to mounting traffic deaths and contributed to lost economic opportunities," said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice-President for South Asia.
"South Asia's road safety crisis is unacceptable but preventable. The good news is that South Asian countries recognise the urgent need to protect their people, save lives, and sustain their journey toward greater prosperity. We at the World Bank stand ready to support their efforts."
The report says annual road crash deaths per capita in Bangladesh are twice the average rate for high-income countries and five times that of the best performing countries in the world.
It highlights that children and working age population are most affected by road crash injuries in Bangladesh.
In 2017, road accidents became the fourth leading cause of death for children from the ninth leading cause of death in 1990.
"For Bangladesh, improving road safety is a national development priority, which will help the country boost economic growth," said Mercy Tembon, World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan.
"Bangladesh must take urgent steps to address road safety and minimise this tragic loss of human capital."
The report emphasises the need to focus on regional trade corridors where crashes are significant, and roads are unsafe.