Road safety is no longer a humanitarian issue, rather safe roads have become a developmental agenda globally, said Hartwig Schafer, World Bank vice-president for South Asia.
He said, "Road safety is closely related to poverty eradication and development."
Schafer stated that road accidents are hurting 3 to 5 percent of the GDP annually in Bangladesh.
He came up with the assertion at a prize distribution ceremony of a video contest on road safety at the World Bank country office in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The World Bank vice-president for South Asia said, "Road fatalities are more than personal tragedies, they undermine a country's growth and human development. Like other countries, by improving road safety, Bangladesh can further reduce poverty and accelerate economic growth."
Mercy Tembon, World Bank country director for Bangladesh and Bhutan, said, "Road safety affects us all. With increasing number of motorised vehicles, road accidents have become the fourth leading cause of death of children between 5 and 14 in Bangladesh. So, road safety is very much a development agenda and we must act now."
Mia Seppo, UN resident coordinator in Bangladesh, said, "SDGs seek to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020. The targets also focus on providing safe, sustainable transport systems for all."
Nazrul Islam Sarker, secretary to the Roads and Highways Division, said, "Road accident is not only a local issue, rather it is claiming lives across the globe."
He hoped the contest will help build awareness among the youths.
Ilias Kanchan, founder of the We Want Safe Road movement, said, "Previously it was believed that poor condition of roads is responsible for accidents. However, unskilled drivers, a lack of road safety awareness and issuing driving licences with bribes also contribute to fatalities on roads."
He emphasised on awareness building to reduce the number of road mishaps.
Five winning teams of the World Bank-United Nations Road Safety Champions' Video Competition were awarded at the event.
The competition sought ideas from young Bangladeshis aged 18-23 for making Dhaka's roads safer.
Speakers at the programme said the World Bank and the government of Bangladesh are discussing a $250 million possible support for comprehensive road safety improvement.
The competition was launched in September 2019 by Finance Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Road Safety Jean Todt, and Hartwig Schafer.