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Road safety is a 365 days affair and must not be confined to a week or a month: General (Dr.) V.K. Singh (Retd.), MoS, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways

New Delhi, 13th May, 2022: Road safety is an important issue that we need to tackle. The number of young lives lost to road accidents per year is worse than those lost in war, says, General (Dr.) V.K. Singh (Retd.), Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Civil Aviation, Govt. of India at the 6th Road Safety Conference on Safer and Sustainable Mobility with Innovations and Technology conducted by The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM).

Addressing the road safety conference, General (Dr.) V.K. Singh (Retd.) said that road safety is unfortunately considered something that comes once a year during the road safety week while it is in fact a 365 days affair. The road safety week has been updated to a road safety month because of the stakes involved.

“Road safety can be segmented into the man, the machine, the infrastructure and the environment. In each segment there are different requirements. The individual needs to be trained properly, the values of sensible road behavior needs to be imbibed in the person. If a person is drunk or distracted on the wheel it will lead to an accident. When it comes to the machine, we are catching up to the world and the industry could have been more proactive.”

“In infrastructure and environment the major problem lies in road designs, faulty DPR and we are addressing the issue. In the MoRTH, powers have been delegated to ground level officials for faster resolution of problems. Road safety education has been confined to a few schools and some conferences which often does not percolate. A major effort is needed to educate people and must begin when one is still a kid. People must also understand why rules are being framed and penalties are increased. Technology is improving and we must use it gainfully not only to monitor traffic but also to find issues and solutions to improve road safety. Road safety must adopt mission mode and has to become Jan Bhagirdari.” the minister added.

Mr. K. K. Kapila, President Emeritus, International Road Federation “I have made road safety my life’s mission. It is my personal vow to reduce road accident fatality in India by 50% by 2025. In 2010, a meeting of transport ministers from around the world was held in Moscow, where a decade of action plan was passed to reduce road accidents and fatalities in the world by 50% by the end of 2020. While we missed the target we gained a better understanding of how to address road safety. To ensure better road safety we need to address the five E’s together to improve road safety. Engineering of roads, Vehicular engineering and policy corrections, education and mass awareness, enforcement and emergency. A coordinated effort and not piece meal is the need of the hour to address road safety. Additional measures like linking of driving licenses with Aadhar will help in weeding out bogus licenses.”

Dr. Reji Mathai, Director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI), Ministry of Heavy Industries, GoI said, “Safety regulations in the country have been progressively enforced since 2000 and many safety concerns have been addressed so that we are at par and even ahead of regulatory requirements. ARAI is facilitating and supporting the government in formulating regulatory framework for the automotive industry. Many of the safety regulations that are being implemented are drawn from what is already in place in other communities and we have tweaked them to suit our specific conditions. We are looking at AEBS, ADAS and other new technologies so that we are comparable to the evolving global standards. Many of the latest safety features are being brought in by manufacturers themselves.

We have conducted over 8000 crash tests and 2000 strength tests already and we are looking at crash simulations as per international regulations so that we can conduct more tests at a faster rate and in a cost effective manner. Fire detection and alarms systems is being implemented and a notification in this regard is already made. We have also adopted the ‘Size India’ initiative to ensure a more ergonomic based design based on the Indian body type and size.”

Shri Sudhendu J. Sinha, Adviser (Infrastructure Connectivity – Transport and Electric Mobility), NITI Aayog, Government of India, “The government is committed to Electric Mobility for a clean and green mobility solution. The contours of mobility was laid down by the Prime Minister himself in 2018 and NITI Ayog launched FLAME, a storage and battery mission in 2019. FLAME 2 policies are now currently in force and India has re-strategized to move away from a singular approach and adopted a multi-pronged approach towards electric mobility making it the only country approaching electric mobility in a structured manner. The government has put in place a Performance Linked Incentive (PLI) scheme to promote electric mobility. With the demand for electric vehicles witnessing a massive increase, manufacturers are ramping up capacity to meet the increasing demand.”

The conference was also addressed by industry veterans and stalwarts like Mr. Ravi Bhatnagar, Co-Chairperson ASSOCHAM CSR Council and Director of External Affairs & Partnerships, South Asia, Reckitt,  Mr. Vinod Pandey, Chairperson, ASSOCHAM Global Value Chain Council and Director, Govt. & External Affairs, CSR, BMW India Pvt. Ltd., Mr. Puneet Anand, Assistant Vice President & Group Head - Corporate Affairs & Corporate Communication, Hyundai Motor India Ltd, Mr. Nitin Pawar, General Manager, External Affairs Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt. Ltd, Mr. Rahul Sawardekar, Head Traffic & Enforcement Business, Ador Powertron Limited, Mr. Bipul Chandra, Managing Director, Ducati India, Mr. Gaurav Gandhi, General Manager & Head CSR, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Ms. Amrita Sarna, Senior Manager, Corporate Affairs, AB InBev India, Mr. Ashish Chutani, Head – Government & Policy Affairs, Maruti Suzuki India Limited, Mr. Ajoy Shah, Mentor & Coach to Team JK Tyre, Mr. Prokash Roy, DGM, Chemical Vertical, Transport Corporation of India Limited.

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