Continuing with the efforts to create awareness on roads safety in India, Mercedes-Benz and its group of companies Mercedes-Benz India (MBIL), Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) and Daimler Financial Services India (DFS) organized ‘Safe Roads India Summit 2017’, in New Delhi today in the presence of Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India.
In order to reduce human error Shri Gadkari stressed upon the need for scientific training of drivers. He said India has a shortage of 22 lakh drivers. The Government has decided to set up 2000 Driver Training Centers to fill this gap, 100 have already been set up. Most of these driver training centres will be set up in rural and tribal areas where they will also create employment opportunities for the local youth.
Regarding infrastructure he said India has 52 lakh kms of road length out of which only 2% are national highways, and these carry 40% of the nation’s traffic. The Government of India has decided to increase the length of national highways from the present 96000 kms to 2 lakh kms. 1.7 lakh kms of national highways have already been sanctioned and these will be of international standards. Safety features have been made an integral part of road design. 730 accident black spots have been identified across the country and these are being rectified.
In addition to improving highways the Government is also focussing on generating road safety awareness among people through campaigns like SAFE ROADS. The Minister commended Mercedes-Benz for taking up the SAFE ROADS campaign as their CSR initiative. He said that in order to achieve the target of 50% fatality reduction by 2020 the Government needs the support of programs like Mercedes-Benz SAFE ROADS.
Since last two years, Mercedes-Benz and its entities organized multiple impactful and successful road safety awareness road-shows in most major cities like Delhi, Ahmedabad, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Kochi, Hyderabad and Kolkata that touched more than 50,000 lives through physical demonstrations, visual aids and research reports.
The Safe Roads Summit is conceptualized to take the road safety awareness to another level. The first Safe Roads Summit this year focuses on safety of children as they are the most vulnerable on the streets.
Safety is a core competency and a core value for Mercedes-Benz and its automotive brands. Mercedes-Benz, in particular, is renowned worldwide for developing highly sophisticated safety systems. However, implementation of effective safety systems remains a challenge, as the road users often do not comply with traffic rules or do not use the safety systems onboard their vehicles. On Indian roads, approximately 150,000 people die every year of road accidents, largely caused due to ignorance of safety norms and rules. That’s an equivalent of 17 people per hour. ‘Safe Roads’ was hence conceptualized by Mercedes-Benz, in an effort to reduce this startling fatality rate on Indian roads, by creating more awareness on road safety. Mercedes-Benz is convinced that such initiatives can begin an era of road safety awareness that supports a new culture of road safety for Indians. Over 70 per cent of the fatalities can be reduced by 2025 through education and enforcement of safety rules and by creating awareness.
Every year, thousands of young children are killed or seriously injured in accidents in India. According to Ministry of Road Transport and Highway reports, around 27 children die on Indian roads every day.
At the Summit, 300 school children and 200 college students from New Delhi attended the event. The college students were given a ‘First Responder Training’ by NGO partner Indian Head Injury Foundation.