Driving is a responsibility, driving is a privilege but somewhere down the road, people driving in India have veered off that path. Indian roads are one of the most dangerous stretches of tarmac in the world. According to the WHO, 11% of all road accident-related fatalities take place in India. Every year, over 4.5 lakh road accidents occur, resulting in 1.5 lakh lives being lost. That translates to 20 lives an hour and one life being claimed every three minutes. So Express Drives along with the Hyundai Motor India Foundation joined hands to help create road safety awareness. As part of the “BeTheBetterGuy” initiative by the CSR arm of the Korean automaker, we got in touch with young minds at Sage University.
Through modern digital means, we reached out to university students in Bhopal and Indore to spread the word on road safety. Though online web conferences, we were able to extend the campaign effectively to a wide audience with a strength of over 70-80 students at any given time.
Students from the university were from diverse backgrounds from the applied sciences fraternity. The majority were pursuing careers in civil and mechanical engineering. So we not only decided to talk about what we all should be doing from behind the vehicles but also how civil and mechanical engineers can help create a safer environment with a wholesome approach. This ecosystem would consider all parities including — four-wheeler drivers, two-wheeler riders, children, senior citizens, pedestrians, commercial vehicles, non-motorised vehicles and others.
Most of the students had obtained driving licenses and a majority were two-wheeler users. So many were familiar with the luxury as well as the perils of venturing out on Indian roads. Grabbing their attention further with the statistics of the gravity of the situation, most students did comment that it was an eye-opener. From the intelligent questions they brought up, we could sense that we were able to get the young minds working already. One of the questions we encountered during the discussion was regarding the first step that we need to take to move forward. The answer to that is quite simply creating a uniform road infrastructure and environment and having regulated and certified driver training schools to help teach drivers how to use them.
The second interesting point during the discussion came about the need for proper road signage and variable speed limits with respect to different climates on a stretch of road. For example, a road with a limit of 100kph should be dropped to 60-80kph depending on the severity of precipitation and visibility.
We also discussed the need for road accident-related medical services and rescue teams equipped with tools specific to the job. In addition to the importance of wearing seat belts, helmets, life hammers and the vital roles they play in saving one’s life in road accidents were brought up. At the end of the communication, we were certain that we made an impact on the lives of many young minds providing them with the knowledge to be safe themselves as well as care for others on the road. More importantly, it was heartening to know that the participants were looking forward to sharing the knowledge gained by them with others, translating into a compounding impact for our initiative.
The numbers of accidents and deaths on Indian roads are alarming. Since vehicles have become much safer over the last 10 years, people being severely or fatally injured inside vehicles has declined. On the other hand, it means that people outside the vehicle — two-wheeler riders, pedestrians, cyclists and other non-motorised vehicles, are more vulnerable. As a result, a cohesive effort is required to make a better motoring environment and make Indian roads safer. Thus, it is imperative at such a time for all of us to #BeTheBetterGuy and save more lives.
Note: This is a sponsored feature aimed at improving the safety standards on Indian roads.
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