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Avoiding death on roads should be prioritised at par with national security: Meenakshi Lekhi

Nov 28, 2018

6 corporates bag FICCI Road Safety Award

NEW DELHI, 28 November 2018: Ms. Meenakshi Lekhi, Member of Parliament, today described road safety as a national security issue as the death toll due to road accidents was much higher than that caused by terrorist attacks.


Addressing a seminar on 'Road safety: The Role of Corporates', organised by FICCI in association with the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Ms. Lekhi said that the corporates need to come forward in a big way in generating sensitivity and awareness on the emotional and physical trauma caused to the next of kin of those killed in road accidents. Corporates should steer clear of siding with those who seek less stringent norms for road safety violations, she added.


Ms. Lekhi suggested that in order to drive home the road safety message, corporates could coin and propagate slogans such as 'booze it or lose it' and 'If you want to stay married, divorce speed'.


She stressed the need for innovation in the manufacture of safety devices and urged manufacturers to adhere to quality specifications. Corporates could also spend increasing amounts from their CSR kitty on distributing rear vehicle body reflectors to people who cannot afford to purchase them.


She alluded to the use of lithium in battery-operated vehicles and said that there was a need to minimise the dependence on imported lithium by switching to other environment-friendly fuels.


Ms. Lekhi also gave away the FICCI Road Safety Awards 2018 to six corporates.


Mr. Abhay Damle, Joint Secretary (Transport), Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, said that safety begins at home and the corporates need to ensure that their employees, work force and visitors to company premises abide by road safety measures. Employees need to be trained about improving their life skills and adhering to safer road safety norms.


He said that a basic SOP needs to be drawn by every member of FICCI and those not adhering to the specified norms on vehicle fitness, license of truck, reflective strips on vehicle, among others should be penalised. "I would advocate for corporates, especially those actively engaged in transport, to spend a significant portion of CSR towards road safety. We have improved our safety standards in past four years. From 1 April 2019, the two-wheelers being produced in the country would be in accordance with the global safety standards and from October 2019 we will have one of the safest cars in India," he said.


Dr. Asgar Hassan Samoon, Principal Secretary, Transport Department, Jammu & Kashmir said, over-speeding and overloading are two of the prominent reasons for road accidents. "We, in J&K are working towards improving the roads and increasing public transport to address these issues. We are also working towards improving the design of roads. In order to train the users and drivers, we have set up a Road Safety Committee. Also, we have created safety clubs in schools and included lessons on road safety in school curricula," he said.


On the issue of fitness of the vehicles, he suggested increase in deterrence by way of fines on breaking the road safety rules.


Mr. Rahul Chaudhary, Chairman, FICCI Homeland Security Committee, and Principal & CMD, GTM Consulting Pvt. Ltd. said that the FICCI Homeland Security Division was actively working with various law enforcement agencies to promote the use of latest technologies which could be deployed for Traffic Management & Road Safety such as e-challan and body worn cameras.


Dr. Ramashankar Pandey, Chair, FICCI Sub Committee on Road Safety, and Managing Director, Hella India Lighting Ltd. said that road safety was a major concern for all and urged corporates from all the sectors to join hands for aligning and creating a collective vision for road safety.

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