The 'Safer Roads For Gurugram' (SRFG) programme initiated to contribute towards the 'Haryana Vision Zero' programme, which is aimed at reducing deaths caused by road incidents. The initiative is an integrated, inter-sectoral and pan-stakeholder programme to enhance road safety in the city through positive behavioural change and data-driven initiatives.
SRFG follows a two-pronged approach by focussing on strengthening the existing systems and helping by creating and implementing unique and innovative solutions. The SRFG is an outcome of an MoU between Anheuser Busch InBev (AB InBev) and the Transport Department, Haryana government. SRFG is an autonomous working group comprising of corporates, government institutions, corporations, healthcare entities, industry associations, academic institutions, civil societies, data analytics and UN agency.
On December 3, the 'Safer Roads For Safer Lives’ initiative was hosted by SRFG. The Minister of Road Transport and Highways, government of India, Nitin Gadkari launched a road safety data dashboard for the city of Gurugram. The dashboard uses FIR (First Information Report) data collected by the Traffic Police of Haryana from the last four years and indicates major factors causing road accidents in the state.
The Road Safety Data Dashboard captures end-to-end data from road collisions and fatalities thus, helps to identify vulnerable spots, assess risk factors and type of accidents, profiles of high-risk victims and vehicles as well as reveals accident data by the time of data and week. By centralising in-depth information dating back to 2016, it aims to serve as a tool for authorities to analyse data on various parameters and devise pre-emptive measures in an efficient and timely manner.
Addressing road fatalities a priority
Commenting at the event, Nitin Gadkari, mentioned that road safety is one of the most sensitive and important subjects for the country. "There are multiple challenges surrounding road safety like fake driver’s licenses, faulty road engineering and lack of adequate awareness among public at large. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways is committed to undertaking steps for tackling each one of these in an effective manner."
Sharing examples on some of the intervention planned include computerised issuing of driver’s license, opening of new driver training schools, road safety audit and treatment of blackspots. He mentioned that collaborative action is the need of the hour – citizens, education institutions, corporations, not-for-profit organisation and media can play a crucial role in strengthening law enforcement and building capacity to reduce accidents and saving millions of lives.
Also present at the event, Dr Shashi Tharoor, Member of Parliament, also launched an e-learning module for ‘Youth and Road Safety’ developed by Safer Roads For Gurugram in partnership with UNITAR (United Nations Institute for Training and Research).
The 90-minute module has a video-based interface which aims to raise awareness and build capacity among the youth to champion safer road use. It sheds light on the importance of road safety measures and provides core skillsets and knowledge on safe road behaviours. It also explores various different ways to help combat road traffic injuries and death.
Sharing his thoughts on the issue of road safety and the youth, Dr Shashi Tharoor said, “As per statistics, a quarter of all road crashes in India involve people up to the age of 35. Analysis of road accidents indicate four major challenges to road safety: Corrupt ways of attaining driver’s license, negligence while driving, bad road designs and poor emergency responses. Consistent efforts need to be made towards educating the public where they need to respect fellow road user’s space when using the roads. While legislation is the place to initiate these efforts, public education will be playing a substantial role in creating safer roads for all.”
Road accidents also cost loss of 1-3 percent of GDP
Also participating at the event were Meenu Chaudhary, Joint Commissioner, Traffic (Ops), Delhi Police; Amar Srivastav, founder and president, IRSC, and other key stakeholders like Gurugram Metropolitan Development Authority, World Resource Institute (WRI), All India institute of Medical Sciences, PepsiCo, DLF Foundation, All India Motor Transport Congress and TRAX Road Safety NGO among others.
According to the latest road fatalities data by MoRTH, road crash is one of the leading causes of unnatural deaths in India. These road crashes kill close to 150,000 people each year in India, and this average fatality rate is one of the highest in the world. It is estimated that the road accidents put a burden of close to 1 percent to 3 percent of the country's GDP.
Commenting on this occasion, Ben Verhaert, president – South Asia, AB InBev said, “As India’s infrastructure continues to develop at a rapid pace, with new roads being built at the rate of 45km per day, we also need to be cognizant of the fact that we have one of the most unsafe roads in the world. India is a signatory to the Brasilia Declaration, a commitment to halve road traffic deaths and injuries by 2020. To achieve this bold ambition, collective action is the need of the hour and we are confident to achieve this as most road safety risk factors are within human control. We are committed to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). As a significant global operator of roadway fleets, we have a unique opportunity to lead the change by working closely with our partners to improve road safety, reduce road vulnerability and create awareness among road users.”
In the last few years, AB InBev has launched many on-ground interventions called City Pilots across the globe. These interventions focus on locally relevant issues and has been instated in various cities of Latin America, South Africa, Belgium, Brazil, and China.