Dear Editor,

Road traffic accidents (RTAs) are the leading cause of injury-related deaths globally. The road safety crisis has become a global epidemic comparable to diseases such as malaria, tuberculosis or HIV. About 1.35 million people globally die every year in road accidents, and more than one-fourth of these fatalities are estimated to happen in South Asia1. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Bank have noted that, by 2020, deaths from RTAs would become a main cause of mortality in many countries2.

There has been an alarming rise in road traffic accidents in Bangladesh over the past few years, which has become a national problem. Every day about eight people die in RTAs, but the actual rate of fatality is likely to be higher3. In 2019, at least 5227 people were killed and 6953 injured in 4702 road accidents across the country4, with accompanying increased healthcare costs for Bangladesh. Moreover, there is a shortage of traffic laws in Bangladesh, which has the lowest traffic law compliance rate compared to other countries in South Asia5. Bangladesh loses 1.2 billion pounds per year due to RTAs, which is equivalent to 2% of GDP and all of the foreign aid it receives annually6. Over 70% of poor households report that their household income and food consumption decreased and 61% were forced to arrange a loan after a road death in Bangladesh7. RTAs in Bangladesh have yet to get proper attention, which is alarming and the time has arrived to confront this challenge.

A common factor to reduce RTAs is the collection and use of comprehensive data. The interpretation of these data can lead to a better understanding of operational problems, accurate diagnosis of accident problems, and the development of remedial measures. However, there is a lack of adequate research on RTAs in Bangladesh and more research is needed to identify the actual causes and ways to reduce RTAs.