The statistics of road traffic accidents for the last ten years are eye-opening. According to a report by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, more than 70 per cent of fatal road crashes in 2017 involved adults in the 18-45 years age group. As many as 1.47 lakh people died on Indian roads in 4.64 lakh accidents reported. At least 17 deaths occur every hour in our country due to road accidents, according to another report on Road Accidents in India in 2016.
Effect of Road Accidents on people and Nation
These accidents do not just affect the families of victims but also the economic growth of nation in general. The human resource is any country’s biggest resource. Majority of accidents involve people in the age group of 18-45 years and are usually the breadwinners of the family. Losing lakhs of such people and a similar number of them being disabled permanently, if they survive such accidents, affects the growth adversely.
This is a matter of serious concern. To bring about a change and make the country’s roads safer, National Safety Council of India along with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways observes ‘Road Safety Week’ every year in January. In 2019, India will be celebrating 30th Road Safety Week. The motive is to prevent and control road accidents and create awareness for road safety and responsible driving among people.
Unfortunately, despite the best efforts by governments, such cases have been rising. The change can only come when people work together with government. They get sensitised to the issue and understand the importance of their lives as well as the concerns of families’ dependent on them financially and emotionally.
And the good news is that the government’s efforts are finally paying off. The people have started understanding the intensity of the problem and come up with awareness campaigns on their own. And with this comes the hope that road safety will increase and road accidents will decline in coming years.
Road Safety Campaigns run by Public and Corporate Houses
While we all hear about road accidents all the time, the ray of hope came when I received a picture where a cyclist was riding with a helmet on.
This shows that at some level people are understanding the importance of road safety and their lives. On digging deeper, more such awareness campaigns run by people and corporate houses came to light. More and more people are understanding the importance of road safety today. But some still need constant reminder to drive responsibly.
Some of the campaigns designed during the last road safety week have potential. If only, they can be executed at national level and run round-the-year, there is a possibility of decrease in the cases of road accident and the 30th Road Safety Week in 2019 can be a success story.
Listing the campaigns that have potential
- In Kolkata, for the first time ever, a two-day-long All India Traffic Conference was held during the Road Safety Week 2018 to educate people on how they can make roads safer. This was done as an extension to state-wide Safe Drive Save Life campaign which kick-started in July 2016 after it came to light that many people lost their lives due to road accidents in Bengal. The State gained huge success in reducing both fatal and non-fatal road accidents due to the campaign during the period of January-October 2017, compared to that of the same period of time in 2016. The state had witnessed a drop in the road accidents by 16.06 percent, injuries due to accidents have dropped by 12.10 percent and fatalities went down by 13.34 percent. Apart from the conference, two mobile vans decorated with road safety messages made rounds around the city to educate and motivate people to follow simple traffic rules that can help save lives.
- Apart from the conference, two mobile vans decorated with road safety messages made rounds around the city to educate and motivate people to follow simple traffic rules that can help save lives.
- In Odisha, a unique campaign was designed by Odisha Police called as, ‘No Puja Without Helmet’. The police roped in the priests of the highly revered Maa Sarala temple in Jagatsinghpur district where nearly 10 new vehicles are brought every day for puja. The priests were asked to not conduct puja if the owners turn up without helmets.
- Mumbai Police came up with a Twitter campaign to create awareness on the serious issues of ‘Drive safely and responsibly’ and ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’. With more an more people spending time on smartphones, the message reached more and more people.
- Apart from these various corporate houses ran effective ad campaigns, which if run regularly can sensitise people towards road safety due to their wide reach.
the seatbelt crew
‘Drive Safe Dad’ Bobblehead
India Road Show
Don’t use mobile while driving
Don’t Drink & Drive
And this is just the beginning. There is no dearth of creative campaign ideas. And once the ball is set rolling, road safety wouldn’t be a distant dream anymore. All that is needed is a continuous effort and it is achievable.