During my visits to Nepal, I often walked through the busy streets of Kathmandu or looked out the plane window and marveled at the sight of Nepal's magnificent hills, with roads winding across them.

And while I always admire the beauty of the country, I also reflect on the perilous journey that Nepalis face on the road every day.

Nepal has one of the highest rates of road deaths in South Asia. In 2019 alone, there were nearly 13,000 highway and road accidents with more than 2,700 deaths and 10,000 injuries.

Road crash deaths and injuries in Nepal have been on a sharp upward trajectory since the early 2000s, as the country invested in increasing road connectivity and economic growth boosted vehicle ownership.

The road safety crisis is a growing global epidemic and Nepal is no exception. Apart from the enormous human toll, road safety has a major economic impact.

A study by the World Bank in Nepal showed that the economic cost of road traffic injuries has increased threefold since 2007 and is equivalent to 1.5% of the gross national product.

A version of this article appears in the print on October 7, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.