India, as is known, accounts for a tenth of road fatalities worldwide and both the Indian automotive industry and the government are seized of the urgent need to reduce the number of road accidents and the resultant injuries to people and fatalities.
The past few years have seen the Indian automotive industry through key vehicle manufacturers and vehicle component suppliers drive various public campaigns and initiatives. Now, for the first time, all the major stakeholders have joined hands to come together and drive home the point of being safe on the road, be it while driving, riding or walking down the road.
National Road Safety Week (April 23-30) begins today with the overall theme of ‘Sadak Suraksha-Jeevan Raksha’ (Road Safety-Protect Life).
Lighting components supplier Hella, in collaboration with 'Drive Smart Drive Safe’ – an NGO for road safety – today flagged off a 250km mega-walkathon early in the wee hours of the day. The relay walkathon started from the landmark India Gate in New Delhi, and will culminate in the city of Chandigarh on April 27, over a course of the next four days.
The company believes that the activity will help disseminate information on road safety and draw people en route to become road-safe by making them aware of the need to obey traffic rules, understand road signs, and ensure pedestrians use the footpath and zebra crossings to ensuring better safety while on the road.
The walkathon will see Hella employees in pairs walking with a baton, and covering close to 60km in one day, taking a total of four pit stops, including one at Sonepat, Karnal, Ambala (Hella's factory) and finally, at Chandigarh.
Apart from driving the message of road safety, the campaign will also see video footage being recorded with a camera mounted on the walker’s chest, as well as on the support vehicles, in order to capture the loopholes in the infrastructure for pedestrians along the entire 250km stretch.
“The Drive Smart Drive Safe NGO plans to use the footage to file a PIL in the Supreme Court, describing the current state of pedestrian infrastructure in the country, as well as demand its righteous improvement,” says Ramashankar Pandey, managing director, Hella India (pictured above, in the centre).
Flagging off the walkathon, Ramashankar Pandey said, “There are around 400 road deaths taking place every day in the country, and this is something which can be prevented with technology and by spreading awareness. The entire industry is coming together for this cause, with support coming in from ACMA, SIAM, CII Young Indians and FICCI. This time, however, we aim to create something historical as there already has been a lot of repetitive things being done on road safety by too many people, but, the idea now is to come together.”
“This is probably the first instance when the entire industry is coming together and this will be an annual property henceforth to spread awareness on road safety. For me personally, it is something which is beyond business, and something which the country has to change; and we will fight till India actually becomes free from avoidable road accidents,” he concluded.
Autocar Professional, a media partner for the cause, was present at the flag-off, and along with Ramashankar Pandey, completed the first 5km leg of the walkathon, until the ‘Gandhi Smriti’ at Rajghat.
Register for safety webinar on May 8
Meanwhile, Autocar Professional is to host its annual webinar titled ‘Towards Safer Mobility in India’ on May 8. This year is the fourth edition of the webinar.
Webinar details: Tuesday, 8th May between 3:00 to 5:00pm (Indian Standard Time)
To register for the webinar: https://bit.ly/2Hig4LS