Mercedes-Benz takes road safety awareness campaign to Kerala

The German carmaker has taken its CSR initiative to Kerala, which is among the 13 states in India that record a very high number of accidents each year.

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 31 Aug 2016 Views icon13846 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Manu Saale, MD and CEO, MBRDI and Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Pedestrian Protection and Sensor Functions, Daimler AMG, at the Safe Roads event in Kochi.

Mercedes-Benz India has taken its ‘Safe Roads’ exhibition that educates about traffic safety through physical demonstrations, visual aids and research reports to Kochi, Kerala. Kerala, which recorded 39,014 road accident fatalities, ranks fifth in the list of 13 top Indian states with the maximum fatalities.

Safe Roads is a multi-city awareness road-show that started in New Delhi in 2015 and hosted by Mercedes-Benz and its group companies Mercedes-Benz India (MBIL), Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), Mercedes-Benz Research & Development India (MBRDI) and Daimler Financial Services India (DFS).

The German carmaker is renowned worldwide for developing highly sophisticated safety systems. However, implementation of effective safety systems remains a challenge, as road users often do not comply with traffic rules or do not use the safety systems onboard their vehicles.

Teaching ‘em young:  Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Pedestrian Protection and Sensor Functions, Daimler AMG, educates collegians 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 for Indians. 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.

This Safe Roads initiative was flagged off today at Rajagiri College, Kochi by Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Sensor Functions and Pedestrian Protection, Mercedes-Benz Cars, in the presence of Manu Saale, MD and CEO, MBRDI. 

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 seatbelts usage for front row passengers including driver. New exhibits for this year are:  

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, GLC scored maximum points for its protection of the 1.5 year child dummy in the frontal offset tests (Source: EuroNCAP website)


The Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE Seat system

This enables visitors to experience the PRESAFE features of the seat. 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.

There’s also an S-Class S500 which gives a glimpse of future of safety by illustrating innovations in the field of active and passive safety. Other kit on display include airbags (driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags, knee bags), and a ‘Body in White’ (BiW) passenger car exhibit that 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 as 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.  

Shocking statistics

India is a signatory to 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, it 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 India. About 54.1 per cent of all persons killed in road accidents are in the 15-34 years age group during the year 2015. 

Poorly trained drivers mainly responsible for accidents

During 2015, 13 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 percent of all road accidents in the country. 

Recommended: Full list of road accidents in Indian states in 2015

Driver’s fault has been revealed as the single most responsible factor for road accidents, killings and injuries on all roads in the country over a long period of time. Driver’s fault accounted for 77.1 percent of total road accidents during 2015 as against 78.8 per cent during 2014. Within the category of driver’s fault, road accidents caused and persons killed due to exceeding lawful speed/over speeding by drivers accounted for a share of 62.2 percent (2,40,463 out of 3,86,481 accidents) and 61.0 per cent (64,633 out of 1,06,021 deaths) respectively. 

Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Sensor Functions and Pedestrian Protection, Mercedes-Benz Cars, said, “Safety is a core value for Mercedes-Benz. Therefore, all our business units stress safety as a priority 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’ CSR initiative. This is also in line with our spirit of good corporate citizenship – meaning that we like to contribute to the society we do business with. We hope that our initiative will kick-start an era of road safety awareness and will support a new culture of road safety among the people in India.”

Manu Saale, MD and CEO, Mercedes-Benz R&D India, added, “Technology, innovation and research go hand-in-hand in improving vehicle safety. With the Safe Roads initiative, we have brought in a new era of safety awareness keeping the Indian road scenario in focus, accidents and resulting fatalities can not only be greatly reduced through innovative technologies but also through responsible driver and passenger behavior. Mercedes-Benz has developed the state-of-the-art safety features that have proven to be effective. In MBRDI alone, there are over 100 engineers contributing to these technologies in active and passive safety of Mercedes-Benz vehicles with 54 patents filed on automotive safety. While there are some policy and regulatory hurdles that exist in order to apply them in India, we hope that the ‘Safe Roads’ initiative will enhance the road users’ awareness of such technologies and will help persuading the legislators to ease these norms for the greater good of society.”

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