Gadkari Wants India Inc’s Help to Make Roads Safer
A Road Less Risky Roads ministry asks automakers to make highways stretches safer Cos asked to fix black spots, set up trauma centres, give ambulance services Govt aims to halve the number of road accidents in three years
M&M, Maruti, Toyota Kirloskar, Hyundai, Tata Motors too taking steps to improve road safety
“We want to make highways safer and the corporate sector must take some responsibility.” NITIN GADKARI Sharmistha Mukherjee & Rajat Arora
New Delhi: In a bid to make the country’s roads safer, minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has asked all major automobile makers to adopt stretches of highways for fixing black spots, setting up trauma centres and providing life-saving ambulance services.
Amid rising cases of fatalities in road accidents — 1.46 lakh lives were lost and more than 5 lakh were injured in 2015 — the government has set a target of reducing accidents by half in the next three years. “We want to make highways safer and the corporate sector must take some responsibility,” Gadkari told ET.
The minister has written to carmakers to make vehicles as per Global NCAP norms to ensure pe- destrian safety. Companies making helmets too have been given a new design that has better safety features.
Carmakers too are taking steps to improve road safety. Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) has started work with Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to make the MumbaiPune Expressway safer. “We are working with MSRDC in education, enforcement, engineering and emergency care to make Mumbai-Pune Expressway a zero fatality corridor,” said Pravin Shah, president and chief executive (automotive division) at M&M. The company has spent ₹ 5 crore under the ‘Zero Fatality Corridor Project’ and earmarked 20% of its annual CSR budget for road safety projects.
Maruti Suzuki too has adopted a 7.5-km stretch on the Gurgaon Expressway to improve road safety in collaboration with Gurgaon Police.
Mahesh Rajoria, assistant vicepresident (driving training) at Maruti Suzuki, said, “We conducted a base line survey through NATPAC (National Transportation Planning and Research Centre) which showed most people were not aware of the meaning of road signages. “We put in place new markings delineators, and carried out educational exercises among other measures. As per data available with police, while number of road accidents in entire Gurgaon went up by 1% last year, accidents came down by as much as 80% on the selected stretch.” The company is now looking at extending the programme to cover 20 km on the Gurgaon Expressway by the end of next fiscal year. Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM) too has undertaken various measures to cut accidents along the Bangalore-Mysore highway. “We’ve installed safety signages at different places to educate drivers on high-speed driving, lane driving, mobile phone usage and for cautioning them about speed breakers,” said Shekhar Vishwanathan, vice-chairman at TKM. Hyundai has also launched a ‘Safe Move -- Traffic Safety Campaign’ with the roads ministry to create educational content and spread awareness about road safety. The company has already reached out to 90,000 children across 142 schools and 100,000 residents in 146 Resident Welfare Associations in 11 cities.
Tata Motors too has rolled out ‘Hamare Bus Ki Baat Hai’ initiative to educate school bus drivers, staff and parents on road safety for school children.
“Our aim is to promote a culture of road safety, not only through our products, but also by influencing the ecosystem we operate in,” said a Tata Motors spokesperson.
In 2015, 1.46 lakh people were killed, 5 lakh injured in road accidents