Indian roads are not the safest, but constant policies and better infrastructure are making them safe. In a recent meeting of the National Road Safety Council (NRSC), Nitin Gadkari advocated for fixed driving hours for commercial truck drivers, similar to pilots. He also announced a policy mandating on-board sleep detection sensors in commercial vehicles to reduce road accidents in India and give relief to truck drivers.
The logistics sector, which is a key enabler and the backbone of an economy, is primarily dependent on drivers who operate for long hours in tough working conditions. SaveLIFE Foundation and Mahindra, in a study initiated in 2020, found that Indian truck drivers drive 12 hours a day covering about 417 km, with almost 50% of them admitting that they feel sleepy or tired while driving.
Many commercial drivers suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a disorder that often goes undetected due to lack of testing. The condition is being further worsened due to the end consumer expectation of immediate delivery of their orders, which is leading to a 100%-200% increase in daily distance travelled by drivers without breaks.
This results in unsafe and non-compliant driving which not only compromises road safety (Driver Sleep/Fatigue/Drowsiness is a major cause of accidents as per Rassi study) but also leads to the high cost of operations. This kind of inattentive driving leads to harsh braking/acceleration and overspeeding which not only leads to loss of life but adversely impacts fuel consumption and maintenance costs.
India has the highest number of road fatalities globally– 1 every 4 minutes (according to World Bank report), with over 70% of victims in the age group of 18-45 years, as per a report by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. Most crash victims usually are working-age adults. Their loss of life not only affects an individual’s life, but also the entire family and dependents.
At present, most transport fleets do not have any monitoring device. At best, some fleets are equipped with telematics devices that are capable of recording only vehicle parameters and locations, and they do not have a system to capture hours of driving and driving behaviour. Not being able to capture hours of driving increases the risk of accidents and hence, impacts vehicle downtime.
Moreover, without monitoring driver behaviour, the fleet owners or managers have minimal control over turnaround time compliance for their end customers as they are at the mercy of the drivers. Hence, the fleet operator loses out on capturing the root cause of driver behaviour and cannot improve fleet operations.
Anuj Kapuria, the Founder and CEO of The Hi-Tech Robotic Systemz, said: “We welcome Hon’ble Shri Nitin Gadkari Ji’s vision of making Indian roads safer. With fixed hours of driving and the promotion of On-Board Sleep Detection Sensors, we have a chance to leapfrog any developed country by implementing AI-based systems. We at THRSL have a mission of transforming logistics with autonomous mobility and AI-driven automation. Adoption of advanced technology will play a crucial role in improving road safety and bringing down the number of road accidents and casualties and will make Nitin Ji’s vision a reality.”
“ADAS provides a split-second advantage to the driver’s response time, thus helping avert accidents and promoting safe driving behaviour. Our vision-based driver-assistive systems for trucks and buses enable active safety thereby preventing accidents. This will significantly improve safety on Indian Roads not only for drivers but also other vulnerable road users like pedestrians and two-wheelers.”
The Hi-Tech Robotic Systemz Ltd, is an intelligent enterprise AI and Robotics company that delivers transformative AI, CV enabled robotic, and autonomous mobility solutions for businesses across multiple industry verticals. THRSL’s ADAS solutions, edge AI-based camera system, enables real-time incident detection and provides pre-emptive in-vehicle alerts and coaching, promoting safe driving behaviour and minimizing accidents. In addition to giving pre-emptive alerts, the THRSL ADAS solution can also log hours of service along with driver authentication.