By Ramashankar Pandey
India is one of the countries with an alarmingly high number of deaths. While driving behaviours are majorly responsible for road accidents. The poor road conditions too is a reason. Overall, road safety has remained a major concern in the country. How the corporate sector can take up a role in improving road safety in the country.
Road safety is a global public health issue that warrants the attention of corporates and governments alike. Almost every day, 3,700 people are killed globally in road accidents and crashes; more than half of the victims of fatal crashes are pedestrians, cyclists, and motorcyclists. This taints the entire transportation system of the world.
Roads are central to the prosperity of any nation and mobility is an essential service to its citizens. India loses a city worth of population every year due to road crashes as per data available at the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways of India. It is estimated that roughly 415 families lose their loved ones daily.
Road safety is fast emerging as a major concern in the country for sustainable transportation on Highways and Cities. India ranks Numero Uno in the tally of road accident deaths across 199 countries as reported in the World Road Statistics 2018, closely followed by China and the USA. As per the WHO Global Report on Road Safety 2018, India accounts for almost 11% of the accident-related deaths in the world.
It has been widely reported that socio-economic losses from accident deaths amount to a shocking 3.14% of our GDP every year. In 2019, young adults in the age group of 18 – 45 years accounted for nearly 69.3% of road accident victims. The working-age group of 18 – 60 accounted for a share of 84.3% in the total road accident deaths.
This data is worrisome for corporates as road safety issues directly impact growth of corporations operating in various sectors.
We, at FICCI, long identified road safety as one of our focus areas and a sub-committee was created to that effect. FICCI intends to work assiduously in achieving the motive of creating awareness among people about the need and essence of road safety. The objective is to leverage the expertise of corporates to come up with possible solutions that could mitigate or reduce occupational road risks.
The FICCI Road Safety Sub-Committee is actively working on various aspects of road safety. Some broad areas include:
- Safe infrastructure, safe vehicles and safe driving behaviour.
- Sensitizing and encouraging member organizations to contribute towards road safety.
- Conducting school awareness programs on road safety in various schools in Delhi & NCR.
- FICCI Road Safety Awards, the objective of which is to promote initiatives taken by corporates towards mitigating or reducing occupational road risk.
FICCI will soon announce the call for entries for the second edition.
During the Ministry’s first-ever Road Safety Month that was held from 18 January- 17 February this year, FICCI partnered with NGO Drive Smart Drive Safe for an innovative and participative mass campaign on road safety- #SafeSpeedChallenge. The campaign focused on the aspect of safe driving behaviour by trusting road users, incentivizing, and recognizing them for good behaviour and assisting and alarm them on roads.
Further, the FICCI Consortium on Road-Safety with corporates, SAFAR – Safer Actions for Accident Reduction, was announced recently. This consortium primarily focuses on a comprehensive approach to free India from all avoidable crashes, fatalities and serious injuries based on learnings from the Safe System Approach. Similar strategies have helped countries like Sweden implementing many far-reaching and path-breaking decisions, on the path to zero road fatalities, including reassessing their priorities in transport planning and road design. The initiative will focus on safe vehicles and safe infrastructure aspects of the road safety ecosystem. Intel Corporation, ICICI Lombard, Hella India, Grant Thornton and Netradyne are part of this consortium.
We strongly believe that awareness and education on road safety at all levels, stronger personal commitment, public-private collaboration, and continuous efforts will help in reducing accidents on Indian roads and improve road safety. FICCI through its Road Safety Sub-Committee will continue to work with the government and industry and put in concerted efforts in reducing road accidents to steer the country towards safer roads and better infrastructure.
Also Read: Vehicle safety: To save or not to save?
(Ramashankar Pandey is Chair, FICCI Road Safety Sub-Committee.)
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* This article has previously appeared in FICCI Blog.