The Central government has launched a road safety programme in a public-private-partnership (PPP) model in collaboration with Diageo India and the Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE). The initiative aims to bring a formal and structured training program for young, first-time drivers as they apply for a learner’s license.
The programme was launched by the Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways and Chemical and Fertiliser, Mansukh L Mandaviya, who said, "Road safety is of prime importance for the government as recent times have seen an alarming rise in road fatalities especially among the youth. Rash driving, drunken driving, lack of adequate safety measures like not wearing helmets are some of the major factors resulting in high (number of) road accidents."
He said that the government is committed to making its vision of safer roads and cities a reality, and this programme will help contribute to the government's target for achieving 50 percent reduction in road accidents by 2020.
The additional secretary in the Ministry, Leena Nandan said, every individual road user is a brand ambassador for road safety. She said that India accounts for 12.5 percent (over 145,000 fatalities a year) of global road accidents, with one road accident occurring every four minutes. Alarmingly, 72 percent victims involved in such road mishaps are between the age groups of 15-44 years with speeding, reckless and drunk driving being the top reason accounting for 1.5 percent of road traffic accidents and 4.6 percent of fatalities. She welcomed the main-streaming of road safety in the formal education system.
Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary in the Road Ministry, said, "The Youth Road Safety Leaners Licence programme is a step toward addressing this grave issue by improving road safety awareness amongst young adults by inculcating behavioural change and creating awareness about responsible driving habits. The programme is an immersive and interactive module led by senior faculty members of IRTE covering varied aspects of responsible driving including defensive driving, ill effects of driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding and wearing of helmets spread over two days."
Dr. Rohit Baluja, president, Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), said, "The young generation is the most vulnerable on Indian roads. Every effort must be made to ensure their safety. This programme adopts the means of creating awareness amongst youth so that they become defensive road users. In the first year, the programme will cover 20 universities with a total of 400 programmes across the country."
The government said that IRTE has been successfully running its ‘Road to Safety’ initiative to provide capacity building training to traffic police officials and educate commercial drivers such as truckers and bus drivers and university students on the dangers of drunken driving. The programme has trained over 4,624 traffic officials in road safety capacity-building, 6,000 commercial vehicle drivers and over 5,000 university students in more than 64 cities of 17 states.
Also read: Road accidents in India claimed 405 lives, injured 1,290 each day in 2017