As is the case in most developing countries, road traffic accidents in Bangladesh result in many people suffering spinal injury and paralysis. CRP is committed, not just to the treatment and rehabilitation patients with spinal injuries, but also to raising awareness about causes of injury and researching and implementing measures to prevent accidents occurring. Thus, it was a natural development for CRP to begin a campaign to prevent road accidents.
Statistics from the Road Safety Cell (RSC) of the Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) show the annual fatality rate in road accident in Bangladesh is 85.6 per 10,000 vehicles which compares to rates of below 3 per 10,000 vehicles in most developed countries. The cause of road traffic accidents are, however, multi-faceted and will take years of concerted and co-ordinated effort to address. Overloaded or unroadworthy vehicles, lack of awareness of safe road use, poor traffic management and law enforcement and poor driver training are among many reasons for the high levels of road traffic accidents. Indeed, at a road safety seminar hosted by CRP the Honourable Minister for Communications, Barrister Nazmul Huda, told that around 70% of drivers in Bangladesh have no legal driving licence.
In response to the high numbers of accidents CRP started its "SAVAR ACCIDENT PREVENTION ZONE" campaign in 2000 using the main west-bound highway leading out of Dhaka - close to CRP's headquarters in Savar - as its focus. Despite, or perhaps because of its good state of repair, this is one of the most dangerous stretches of road Bangladesh. Accidents occur on a regular basis involving overloaded trucks and buses, passenger cars, smaller modes of transport and pedestrians. The campaign involves awareness raising activities at schools, colleges, bus stands and with transport companies and associations, lobbying of relevant bodies and the erection of 32 road safety signboards along the 20km stretch of highway through Savar sub-district.
The work done by CRP to prevent road traffic accidents is a small, but important part of numerous projects undertaken by government, non-government and civil society organisations to attempt to address the problems of road safety.