SIAM's Society for Automotive Fitness & Environment focuses on safety at 24th annual convention

The aim was to To outline strategies for the next step towards creating a lasting impact on safe driving habits, road discipline, and the overall safety of vehicles and roads,

Autocar Pro News Desk By Autocar Pro News Desk calendar 26 Sep 2023 Views icon2195 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp
SIAM's Society for Automotive Fitness & Environment focuses on safety at 24th annual convention

The Society for Automotive Fitness & Environment (SAFE), an initiative by SIAM, organised its "24th Edition of SAFE Annual Convention 2023" today in Guwahati, Assam. Centred on the theme – "SAFE Roads, SAFE India: Strategies for Ensuring Safer Transportation".

The aim was to outline strategies for the next step towards creating a lasting impact on safe driving habits, road discipline, and the overall safety of vehicles and roads.

Welcoming the Dignitaries and members of the automotive industry to the inaugural ceremony of the SAFE Annual Convention 2023, Prashant K Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM, said, "The SAFE initiative Surakshit Safar is making an impact all over the country."

The Chief Minister of Assam, Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, in his message, mentioned that "The Indian automobile industry plays a vital role in our nation's growth and, as it continues to thrive, it presents us with an opportunity to address road safety challenges. In Assam, we have taken steps like identifying accident hotspots, awareness drives, and emergency care strategies to address this. We are intensifying awareness against drink and driving, over speeding, and promoting helmet use, along with increasing highway patrolling. There is a need for a culture of Safety, wherein Education will play a major role. Our efforts also extend to constructing bus and truck bays, removing encroachments on national highways, and prioritising preparedness strategies. I commend SIAM and wish them success for their 'Surakshit Safar' and 'SAFE' initiatives towards safer transport systems."

Industry experts from various corporations and OEMs shared valuable insights, greatly enhancing the significance and credibility of the discussions and initiatives presented during the convention.

Addressing the inaugural session, themed "Road safety in India – The journey so far", Chief Guest Shri Parimal Suklyabaidya, Hon'ble Transport Minister, Government of Assam, said, "The Government of India and the automotive industry has made remarkable strides in improving vehicular safety. The alarming rate of accidents, especially among individuals under the age of 45, poses a real risk to an entire generation. Considering that the majority of accidents in Assam involve 'dumpers' and 2-wheelers, riders must prioritise safety by wearing helmets. Similarly, 3- and 4-wheeler manufacturers should actively guide customers to follow traffic and safety regulations. In doing so, we can collectively contribute to a safer and more responsible road environment."

The Guest of Honour Adil Khan, IAS, Secretary of Transport, Government of Assam, said, "India's annual toll of 1.5 lakh lives lost in road accidents is one of the highest in the world, and we must raise awareness and change driver behaviour to mitigate this crisis. In Assam, we actively engage with civil society, enforce road safety and traffic laws, and have integrated awareness education into the school curriculum. Extensive IEC campaigns, regular road safety audits, and state-regulated speed limits are in place. Assam has introduced 50 contactless services for licensing and vehicle registration, simplified registration processes, digitalised DL and RC, and implemented a comprehensive vehicle scrappage policy, among other measures to make vehicle-related services more accessible and user-friendly for the public."

The Guest of Honour Prof and Dr Nani Gopal Mahanta, Academic Advisor to Govt of Assam, said, "With approximately 65,000 schools in Assam and over 49 lakh students, ensuring road safety is paramount to all of us. The Secondary Education Board of Assam (SEBA) has taken proactive steps by including road safety rules and regulations in Assamese textbooks to instill awareness among students. The Department of Education, Assam also collaborates with the NSS and NCC to conduct various road safety programs to enhance preparedness and awareness among students and the community."

The SIAM SAFE Context Paper "Analysing India's Imperatives for Road Safety" was unveiled on this occasion. The Transport Minister felicitated the contributors to road safety during the inaugural session.

During the inaugural session, Sushant Naik, Vice President at SAFE and Global Head of Government & Public Affairs at Tata Motors, D. Balakrishnan, President of SAFE and General Manager at Ashok Leyland, Mr Ashim Sharma, Senior Partner & Group Head at Nomura Research Ltd, and  Vinay Dhingra, Director at Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, also shared their insights and perspectives on road safety in India.

The first plenary session, "Proactive Engineering and Education in Road Safety", was chaired and moderated by Vikram Gulati, Country Head & SVP, CSR, External Affairs, Toyota Kirloskar Motor. Guest of Honour, Mr Pankaj Singh, Executive Director, NHIDCL (National Highway Infrastructure Development Corporation Ltd), shared his perspectives on Education in Road Safety.  

The session also included thematic presentations from Ashish Chutani, Head -Corporate Affairs, Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, on 'Innovative engineering practices for improving road safety in India',  Mr Kalyan Dutta, Manager (T) / Road Safety Auditor, NHAI, on 'Road Safety in context to North-East and Hill roads for safe transportation', Bhagwan K Bindiganavile, Sr Vice President (Strategy, Brand & Communication, VE Commercial Vehicles Ltd, on 'Automobile industry contribution in Road Safety Education', and Ramashankar Pandey, Chief Executive Officer, TATA Autocomp GY Batteries Pvt Ltd, on 'Proactive Engineering and Education in Road Safety'. Prabha Mankikar, English Teacher, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, also discussed the "Importance of Road Safety in School Education."

The second plenary session, titled “Ensuring Enforcement and Emergency Care in Road Safety”, was chaired and moderated by Vinay Dhingra, Director, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India Pvt Ltd.

The session also included thematic presentations from Umesh K Suryavanshi, Deputy Head (Training & Consultancy), CIRT, on "Innovative Driving Test Systems", Benoy Gopal EB, Associate Director, C-DAC, on 'Role of technology in improving road safety enforcement mechanisms', Piyush Tewari, Founder & CEO, and Dr Roshan Jose, Head of Road Safety Project, SaveLIFE Foundation, on 'Strategies for engaging communities in road safety initiatives' and Bhuvaneswari Jayaraman, Chief Manager - CSR, SKODA AUTO Volkswagen India Private Ltd, on 'Moving People Safely – Skoda Auto Volkswagen India's road safety projects'.

The third Plenary Session, titled "5th E of Road Safety – Evaluation", was moderated by Yash Pal Sachar, Vice President & Head of Corporate Affairs, Ashok Leyland. Guest of Honour,  Gaurav Upadhyaya, IPS, Additional Secretary, Transport (Head- Lead Agency on Road Safety), Govt of Assam shared his perspective on road safety. 

The session also included thematic presentations from Mr Pradeep Jaswani, COO, JP Research India, Prof Akhilesh Maurya, IIT, Guwahati,  Mr Anshuman Roy, Director- Business Development, Rosmerta Technologies Ltd, Pradeep Jaswani, COO, JP Research India, Dr Prerna Arora Singh, CEO, People Trust's India and Prof Akhilesh Maurya, IIT, Guwahati. They shared their views on 5th E of Road Safety.  

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