Mr. Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda, Member of Parliament, has called for giving more teeth to the legislation and regulatory aspects of motor vehicles laws, along with stricter enforcement and a change in culture towards responsible driving and saving the lives road accident victims.
Speaking at a conference on the Role of Corporates in Road safety today on the occasion of the 29th National Road Safety Week, organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in association with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Panda said that with 55 accidents and 17 fatalities every hour, Indian roads were the most dangerous in the world. The scenario is not getting any better as there has been a 3 per cent worsening of the situation between 2015 and 2016.
He said that India’s National Highways constitute a mere 2 per cent of the country’s road network but account for 30 per cent of road accidents and 35 per cent of deaths on road. Apart from the trauma that road fatalities and accidents cause to the families of the victims and costs to society, ensuring road safety could result in a 3 per cent increase in GDP.
Panda said that corporates have discipline, implementation capacity and the budgets for inculcating awareness among their employees and the public on the need for life-saving measures. This could take the form of investment in training in first-aid and funding for the use simulators for conducting driving tests.
Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary (Transport), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said that corporates were the biggest employers. It was, therefore, important for them to ensure that their employees adhere to traffic rules. He suggested that FICCI should encourage its members to adopt safe driving practices to minimize road accidents. He also advised corporates to conduct medical examination and eyesight tests of commercial vehicle drivers.
Tuhin A. Sinha, Special Initiatives Advisor to Mr. Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways, underlined the need for motivating citizens to come forward and make road safety a mass movement. He suggested that corporate India could engage with best engineering, management and medical students to find effective solutions to road safety.
Amit Saha, Lead, FICCI Sub-Committee on Road Safety and Chief Sustainability Officer, Hindustan Coca-Cola Beverages Ltd., said that FICCI’s road safety initiatives focus on safe mobility and data analytics and sensitising drivers through stories narrated by children, either in print or through short videos.