Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Safe Roads’ road safety CSR initiative, flagged off in New Delhi on April 29, 2015 has now reached Kolkata, its final destination in India. Including these two metros, the expo has also been held in Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kochi and Hyderabad.
Yesterday, Mercedes-Benz and its group companies Mercedes-Benz India (MBIL), Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) and Daimler Financial Services India (DFS) inaugurated Safe Roads at Kolkata, its final destination this year, as part of the two year multi-city safety awareness roadshow series. Earlier this year, the road-show travelled to Kochi, followed by Hyderabad.
Driving home the message of safety
Safety is a core competency and a core value for Mercedes-Benz and its automotive brands. Mercedes-Benz in particular, is renowned worldwide for developing highly sophisticated safety systems. However, implementation of effective safety systems remains a challenge, as the road users often do not comply with traffic rules or do not use the safety systems onboard their vehicles. On Indian roads, approximately 140,000 people die every year of road accidents, largely caused due to ignorance of safety norms and rules.
‘Safe Roads’, conceptualised by Mercedes-Benz, is an effort to reduce this startling fatality rate on Indian roads, by creating more awareness on road safety. Mercedes-Benz says it is convinced that such initiatives can begin an era of road safety awareness that supports a new culture of road safety in India. Over 70 percent of the fatalities can be reduced in the next 10 years through education and enforcement of safety rules and by creating awareness.
Safe Roads Kolkata was inaugurated at the Royal Calcutta Golf Club by Prof. Dr Rodolfo Schöneburg, director, Mercedes-Benz Cars, responsible for Safety, Durability, Corrosion Protection and Manu Saale, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz R&D India yesterday. The road-show will be open to the public on November 19-20 at the South City Mall.
The Safe Roads show effectively spreads the message of road safety through physical demonstration, visual aids and research reports. The physical demonstration are undertaken with the use of exhibits that have been brought from Germany, providing a real-life experience of safety measures that can potentially save lives during road accidents.
The most popular exhibit remains the belt-slide which enables visitors to experience the impact of seatbelts in a simulated crash environment at low speed. The aim is to increase the percentage of seat belts usage for front row passengers including the driver.
The Crashed Mercedes-Benz GLC: Visitors can witness an actual crashed vehicle. The passenger compartment of the GLC remained stable in the frontal offset barrier test. The car scored maximum points for its protection of the front passenger dummy, with good protection of all critical body areas. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of both the driver and passenger. Also, the GLC scored maximum points for its protection of the 1.5-year child dummy in the frontal offset tests.
The Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe seat system enables visitors to experience the Pre-Safe features. Using a network of sensors, the Pre-Safe system can detect certain conditions that suggest an accident is about to occur. The Pre-Safe seat system then pre-tensions the front seatbelts, adjusts the front head restraints and passenger seat to better prepare the occupants for more effective results from the restraint systems.
A glimpse of the future of safety comes in the form of the Mercedes-Benz S500 which illustrates trailblazing innovations in the field of active and passive safety.
Also on display are a range of airbags including driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags and knee bags. A ‘Body in White’ passenger car exhibit highlights some of the core elements of a car structure which have high-tensile strength that can absorb most of the energy during a crash and minimise passenger car intrusions.
Alcohol goggles provide a unique experience. Wearing these special types of glasses simulates the common ‘walk-the-line’ activity which causes loss of balance and delayed reaction times. Visitors will feel their susceptibility to impairments and realise the potential severe consequences due to alcohol consumption.
India’s poor road safety record
As per a Ministry of Road Transport & Highway, India (MoRTH) 2015 report, India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration and is committed to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 percent by 2020. However, with one of the highest motorisation growth rates in the world accompanied by rapid expansion in road network and urbanisation over the years, the country is faced with serious impacts on road safety levels. The total number of road accidents increased by 2.5 percent from 489,400 in 2014 to 501,423 in 2015. The total number of persons killed in road accidents increased by 4.6 percent from 139,671 in 2014 to 146,133 in 2015. Road accident injuries have also increased by 1.4 percent from 493,474 in 2014 to 500,279 in 2015.
The severity of road accidents, measured in terms of number of persons killed per 100 accidents has increased from 28.5 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2015. The analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that about 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads, which further translates into 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour in our country. About 54.1 percent of all persons killed in road accidents are in the 15 – 34 years age group during the year 2015.
During 2015, thirteen top states namely Tamil Nadu (69,059), Maharashtra (63,805), Madhya Pradesh (54,947), Karnataka (44,011), Kerala (39,014), Uttar Pradesh (32,385), Andhra Pradesh (24,258), Rajasthan (24,072), Gujarat (23,183), Telangana (21,252), Chhattisgarh (14,446), West Bengal (13,208) and Haryana (11,174) together accounted for 86.7 per cent of all road accidents in the country.
L-R: Manu Saale, MD and CEO, MBRDI and Prof. Dr Rodolfo Schöneburg, director, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Development Safety, Durability, Corrosion Protection at the Safe Roads expo in Kolkata.
Commenting on the Safe Roads initiative, Prof. Dr Rodolfo Schöneburg, director, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Development Safety, Durability, Corrosion Protection said: “Safety is a core value for Daimler. All group companies prioritise on making their vehicles safe – for the user as well as for the environment they are operating in. When we learned about the accident and fatality rates in India, we decided to develop the ‘Safe Roads’ initiative. We hope that our initiative will bring in an era of road safety awareness and will support a new culture of road safety among the people in India. So far we have received very positive responses from the people of India for the initiative and we plan to take it forward in different forms, in the coming years.”
Manu Saale, MD and CEO, MBRDI, added: “Technology, innovation and research go hand-in-hand in improving vehicle safety. Safe Roads was conceptualised by Mercedes-Benz, in an effort to reduce the startling fatality rate on Indian roads, by creating more awareness on road safety and also through responsible driver and passenger behaviour. We have successfully covered 8 major cities including Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad and Kolkata in the past two years. We have had over 43,000 first-hand experience of our safety exhibits and with the responses on social media we have touched more than 10 million people. We hope that with ‘Safe Roads’ we have added value to enhance the road user’s awareness in India. Even though Kolkata would be the last city we visit this year in this format, we will continue on our mission to contribute towards the greater good of our society.”