The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM), the apex national body representing the Indian automobile sector, organised its third CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Conclave in New Delhi on December 19, 2018. The event saw the participation of dignitaries from the government, automotive industry, and NGOs, who came together to discuss the best approaches towards road safety and the importance of road safety programmes.
The inaugural session saw the participation of the 'Guest of Honour', Abhay Damle, joint secretary, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, government of India; Taj Hasan, special commissioner – Traffic , Delhi Police; Naveen Soni, chairman, SIAM CSR Group and vice-president – External Affairs, Toyota Kirloskar Motor and Sushant Naik, co-chairman, SIAM CSR Group, national head – government affairs, Tata Motors.
In his welcome address, Naveen Soni thanked the corporates and the NGOs who came forward to align themselves with the cause of road safety. At the conclave, the guests of honour unveiled this year’s compendium which highlights the key initiatives undertaken by all the members across India including road safety.
The event was attended by Kailash Gahlot, minister of Transport, government of NCT (National Capital Territory) of Delhi as the chief guest who focussed on the ‘commitment’ of the road and transport authorities and stated, “We need to engage with stakeholders regularly. Delhi government is open to suggestions for improvement of the situations for both the pedestrians and the commuters.”
In the opening session, Taj Hasan said, “Road safety is an output of overall traffic discipline scenario. We cannot think of road safety in isolation.” Talking about the major challenges in making roads safer, he urged the OEMs and SIAM to undertake more road safety programmes and requested for mass participation from everyone.
During the session, Abhay Damle said, “The corporates should understand their responsibilities and there should be a proper mechanism to measure the impact of the initiatives taken by the government, the corporates and the NGOs to promote road safety.” He further talked about the importance of technology in keeping track of traffic rules and violators as there is a dearth of human resources to keep a track on all of that.
At the SIAM CSR conclave, the panel discussions were divided into three sessions. The first session saw speakers shedding light on the fundamentals and learnings of road safety.
During the session, Shashank Anand, IPS, SSP (Traffic and Security), Chandigarh Police shared a presentation highlighting the major causes of road accidents and ways to prevent it. Speaking on the role of drivers, he said, “It’s important for drivers and riders to be attentive on road and avoid all sorts of distractions, be it manual, visual or cognitive. We request SIAM to pitch in and create a program for road safety education in India.”
Stressing on the infrastructural requirements to prevent road accidents, Tony Mathew, principal transport specialist, Transport Research Laboratory, UK said, “The environment, the driver and the vehicles are the prime factors in causing road accidents. One must know the types of mishaps occurring to understand and tackle the root causes of the same. There is a need for a good quality evidence system and quality crash data.”
Continuing the session on the learning's of road safety, Dinesh Tyagi, director, International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) said, “Road safety education is the most important solution to tackle the issue of road accidents. We are upgrading our facilities to come up with technologies that promote road safety. We should all come together to spearhead programmes and implement them effectively to bring down road accidents.”
The second session of the conclave talked about the alignments of road safety. Representing the large disabled community, Harman Singh Sindhu, ArriveSAFE shared his experience of meeting with an accident and getting a major spinal injury. He urged the highway authorities to address the major causes leading to road accidents on highways and said, “We must align ourselves to take steps to create safer roads for everyone including the disabled community.”
Concluding the second session of the conclave, Piyush Tewari, CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation said, “The key to a successful alignment between CSR organisations and corporate is to have a shared vision, an area of expertise, a resource sharing ecosystem, patience and a data-driven approach.”
Concluding the event, Alok Kumar, Joint Commissioner, traffic - Delhi Police said, “With so many fatalities happening in Delhi, we urge all corporates to join the Delhi traffic police in innovative initiatives so that we can bring down the road fatalities in the capital.”
The conclave concluded with an award ceremony which also marked the first SIAM CSR awards. This was an initiative from SIAM to encourage more NGOs to participate in issues affecting the road safety.
Also read: SIAM concludes inter-school 'Road safety' in New Delhi