Road safety week is a national event aimed at raising public awareness about traffic rules and ultimately to reduce casualties due to road accidents. Millions lose their life and millions get injured in road accidents globally; mainly, due to lack of awareness about traffic rules or a behavior of flouting them. Therefore, to make people more aware of the traffic rules and to persuade them to follow rules while on road; the Road Safety Week is observed annually.
Though the government observes the road safety weeks, many Charitable Organizations, Non Government Organizations and Private firms across the country also organize and provide logistic support to the Road Safety Week Campaign.
Road safety week is celebrated with the great joy and enthusiasm every year in India at many places such as Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Baroda, Vadodara, Pune, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Chandigarh and etc. People are encouraged about how to drive on road by organizing variety of programmes related to the road safety.
During the whole week celebration of this campaign, variety of educational banners, safety posters, safety films, pocket guides and leaflets related to the road safety are distributed to the on road travelers. They get motivated about the road safety while traveling on road means having planned, well-organized and professional way traveling. People who travel in unprofessional way are requested to use road safety measures and follow traffic rules by giving them roses.
Road Safety Week 2019
30th Road Safety Week 2019 was celebrated in India from 04th February (Monday) to the 10th February (Sunday).
Following activities and events were conducted to observe the Road Safety Week 2019 of India across the country:
- Various awareness campaigns and events were conducted across the country in all the states.
- External Affairs Minister, Sri Sushma Swaraj and Minister of Road Transport, Sri Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the 30th Road Safety Week and flagged off a Motor Rally in New Delhi on 4th February.
- Delhi Police organized a week-long awareness campaign to make people aware about traffic rules and dangers of drunken driving and over speeding.
- Reflective tapes were distributed to cyclists and were urged to use the cycle tracks wherever available.
- NGO’s volunteers and school children also made people understand the importance of wearing helmets and seat belts.
- Madurai Traffic Police organized awareness campaigns and walkathons to make people aware of traffic rules and signals.
- Painting competition was organized in Puducherry in schools and colleges with the theme ‘Road Safety, Life Safety’.
- TATA Steel, Jamshedpur organized various programs on road safety and conducted dramas and skits showcasing the importance of road safety.
- Amritsar Traffic Police organized a Rangoli competition to observe the Road Safety Week and held talks on road safety.
- A bike rally was flagged off from Thoubal, Manipur as a part of road safety campaign. The event was aimed at spreading awareness about the importance of following road safety rules.
- Mumbai Traffic Police organized an event in collaboration with an NGO which taught the road safety rules to children. Safety gadgets and helmets for cycles were also distributed to children in the event.
How the Road Safety Week is Celebrated
> Road safety week is celebrated by performing the following activities:
> Road safety leaflets including roses, chocolates and flowers are distributed to the travelers on the road.
> commuters are also explained about the methods and necessities of the road safety means they must understand the use of helmets or seat belts while driving on the road or anywhere.
> Various painting and drawing competitions, road safety announcements, exhibitions, road rules test, girls scooter rally to encourage the use of helmets, debates on road safety at the All India Radio, workshops, seminar and etc activities are organized.
> Free medical check up camps and driving training workshops are organized for the drivers to encourage them towards the road safety.
> Road safety quiz competitions are also organized to promote people about road safety.
> Traffic safety games including card games, puzzles, board games and etc are organized to educate school children about road safety.
Why Road Safety Week Campaign Celebration is Necessary
Celebrating the road safety campaign was initiated by the ISS India HSE (Health Safety and Environment) in order to make people aware about the national road safety in the Indian subcontinent. ISS India had declared to celebrate the Road Safety Week all through the country in the first week of the month of January. The aim of this campaign was to emphasize and accentuate people about the need of safe roads travel by applying just simple rules.
More than 1.25 million people around the globe lose their life, due to traffic mishaps and nearly 50 million get injured, often resulting in disability. The loss of life results in the loss of livelihood and also emotional trauma for the family and friends of the deceased, not to mention the economic loss to the nation.
Global statistic revealed that the casualties in low and moderate income countries constitute 90% of the global statistics. In India nearly 1.5 lakh people lose their life annually due to road accidents; which includes motorcyclists up to 25%. It is estimated that around 400 people die every day in road accidents in India; bringing tremendous pain and financial burdens as well as emotional trauma to the family and friends.
The main cause for the road accidents is attributed to be behavioral; that is, a habitual flouting of traffic rules like- not wearing helmet, not wearing seat belt, jumping traffic lights, over speeding, drunken driving etc. It is therefore needed that people are made aware of the perils of not following traffic rules, and the emotional and financial trauma that it could bring to their families.
Even the pedestrians on the roads are at the risk of losing their life due to callous and negligent behavior of others as well as their own. According to an estimate, nearly 20000 pedestrians lose their life annually in India, as they are more vulnerable on road due to lack of safety.
The Road Safety Week is an event to raise public awareness about traffic rules and to help save their life as well as others on the road.
It also need efforts from different stakeholders such as the community, transport sector, insurance sector, health sector, police, legal sector, educational institutions, highway engineers, vehicle manufacturers, public agencies, NGOs and etc. Students are given a big opportunity to be participated in the road safety week programme as to change something, youths of the country must understand first.
Road Safety Week Themes
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2019 is same as last year – “Sadak Suraksha-Jeevan Raksha”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2018 – “Sadak Suraksha-Jeevan Raksha”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2017 – “Your Security, Safeguards your family”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2016 – “Road Safety-Time for action”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2015 – “Build a safety culture for sustainable supply chain”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2014 – “Walk for Road Safety”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2013 – “Be Alert, Don’t Drink and Drive”.
- Theme for Road Safety Week 2011 – “Road security is a goal not an intermission”.
Objectives of Celebrating Road Safety Week
> The aim of celebrating the campaign road safety week is to promote the road safety measures in the community, schools, colleges, work places, on roads and etc.
> To decrease and completely remove out the road accidents, road accident death and injury cases by applying the road safety measures.
> To encourage all the travelers to follow the traffic rules and wear helmets and seat belts while driving.
> To implement the new preventative measures which are proved to lessen the risk of road accidents, death or injury.
> To aware the people about the speed limit of the vehicles to prevent road accidents.
> To maintain the speed and required distance from other vehicles
> To aware people that do not drink, do not drive when tired and do not use phones or radios while driving.
How India Celebrates Road Safety Week
The National Security Council, an autonomous body set up by the Government of India, in collaboration with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and State governments, organize the Road Safety Week annually during the month of January.
The central government allots funds to the state governments, to spend on campaigns related with the Road Safety Week. It is a joint exercise in which government, non-government organizations and public entities work in unison for reducing fatalities on road.
In cities, efforts are made to raise public awareness about traffic rules, signs, and cautions which should be taken while on road. In the celebration that goes for whole week; marches are organized with banners displaying road safety cautions and signs. Many schools and colleges voluntarily take part in the campaign, distributing leaflets, booklets related to road safety as well as reflectors to the vulnerable cyclists.
The local authorities also organize a thorough check of drivers and motorcyclists to send a strong message of ‘Zero Tolerance against Drunken Driving’ and other safety violations. Commuters are explained about traffic rules and signs as well as the cautions they should take on road for their safety as well as the safety of others.
Factors that Lead to Mishap and What Can be Done to Avoid It
There are various potential factors that may lead to a serious accident on road, resulting in fatalities. Some of the prime factors responsible for road accidents are given below-
1) Drunken Driving
Around 20 Indians die every day in accidents caused due to drunken driving; i.e. around 7500 casualties annually. An inebriated or drunken driver tend to drive in a rash and negligent way, often over speeding, risking his own life as well as the life of others. Even a drunken motorcyclist or a pedestrian is much more susceptible to a mishap.
What can be done
A strict vigil must be observed by the local authorities for checking the drivers of all the vehicles and motorcycles for cases of drunken driving. If found under the influence of alcohol above the permissible limit then such violators must be dealt strictly, sending a message that such behavior of risking lives will not be tolerated. The permissible limit of alcohol may also be lowered from time to time in a bid to reduce accidents due to drunken driving.
2) Underage Driving
The permissible age in India for obtaining a license and driving on road is 18 years in case of private motor vehicle with gears, and 16 years in case of vehicle up to 50 CC engine capacity without gears, if the parents of the applicant provide consent for it. The age limit for obtaining a commercial vehicle license is 20 years. Though, the age limit for obtaining driving license is appropriate, but many underage persons also obtain the licenses by influencing concerned officers by collaborating with the middle men. Such persons forge their actual age for obtaining a license and are a threat to their own life as well as the life of others while on road.
What Can Be Done
Strict government orders must be issued to the concerned license issuing authorities for taking stringent measures while issuing licenses and making age and background verification mandatory. Parents and guardians must also be discouraged from providing licenses to their wards, especially, when they don’t need one. If at all a license is issued, the applicant must put through a driving test and must be trained for traffic rules and regulation.
3) Distracted Driving
Distracted driving includes – speaking on phone while driving, texting while driving, talking to the other passengers and sometimes, listening to loud music leads to an accident. Remember that you are not alone on the road; there are other vehicles too. If there are no other vehicles in sight, there may be pedestrians or stray animals. Just a second of distraction can lead to a fatal mishap causing injury or death. According to an estimate, texting while driving makes you 28 times more susceptible to mishaps. A distracted driver risks his own life as well as the life of others.
What Can Be Done
Once again the best way to prevent an accident is to change your own behavior. Don’t talk on phone while driving, don’t text, don’t listen to loud music, so that, you remain aware of your surroundings as well as other occupants of the road. Persons caught talking or texting on phone must be fined heavily or imprisoned to refrain them from repeating the violation. People who are in the habit of listening to music while driving a car or a bike, should be advised by their family and friends not to do so.
4) Behavioral Reasons
People of a particular area or locality might display a behavior of negligence towards following the traffic rules like- wearing helmets, seat belts, jumping signals or driving in a restricted lane. Habits like not wearing a helmet or not using the seat belts are the most potent causes for casualties in road accidents. A good helmet over your head reduces the risk of a fatal head injury to a negligible level and saving your life and also your family from a sad and deprived future. It is estimated that wearing seat belt while on road reduces the risk of a fatal injury by astonishing 50%.
What Can Be Done
Law enforcement agencies are responsible to keep a check on traffic violations. Anyone without a helmet or not wearing a seat belt must be heftily fined so that they don’t repeat the violation again. Regular programs must be organized in schools and localities to make children as well as elders aware of the benefits of wearing safety gears while on road.
5) Walking Pedestrians and Stray Animals
Many times an erratic pedestrian also leads to an accident resulting in injury and death. An erratic or drunken pedestrian risks his own life as well as the lives of motorcyclists and other occupants of a vehicle on the road. Many accidents have occurred in a bid to save such unpredictable pedestrians. India is a country whose 70% population resides in villages. It is therefore obvious to encounter villages on both sides of roads, highways as well as national highways. Such close settlements alongside the road present the risk of stray animals as well as adolescent children straying on the road, giving only fraction of a second to the driver of the vehicle to respond. In many cases the response time is so low that a mishap becomes inevitable.
What Can Be Done
Awareness raising campaigns at ground level must be organized, reeling in the village community and making them aware of the hazards their stray animals could cause; not to mention the financial, physical as well as emotional trauma to the victim and his family. Roads passing through settlements could be barricaded to prevent animals or humans from straying on the road. Drivers also must be cautioned by road signs and speed limits, to avert mishaps. Public awareness can play a great role in reducing road accidents, despite all the rules and regulations.
6) Unsafe Vehicles
Many unsafe and poorly kept commercial vehicles are plying on the roads, risking the life of drivers as well as other occupants. Such vehicles are illegitimately certified to be fit and are used for transporting goods or even ferry passengers. Anything anytime could go wrong in an old vehicle which has a poor brake system or damaged tires. Such vehicles risk the life of the occupants as well as other road users.
What Can Be Done
The local transport authorities should be on look out for such vehicles and must confiscate them if found operational. Risking life of others for one’s own gain cannot be permitted and is a crime by law. The fitness certificate should be made mandatory for every vehicle running on the road; and no tolerance should be made towards flouting this rule.
How to be Safe on Road and Things to Take Care on Road to Avoid Accident
Below is a point wise narration of the methods/precautions you can take while on the road; either as a driver, motorcyclist, a walking pedestrian or just a passenger.
- Always wear a helmet while riding a bike or a bicycle.
- Let the pillion rider also wear the helmet.
- Never exceed the vehicles seating capacity.
- Be vigilant of your surroundings.
- Immediately report any rash driving to the concerned authorities.
- Keep yourself learned about road signs and signals.
- Follow road signs and speed limits.
- Never ever jump a signal; even when no one is watching. Remember it is for your own safety after all.
- Always keep your vehicle or bike fit.
- Always wear seat belts; make it a habit even while commuting through city traffic.
- Let the other passengers also take necessary safety measures.
- Speaking on phone, texting or listening to loud music is a big NO, while on road.
- Never drink and drive; neither let others do.
- Never drive if feeling dizzy or sleepy.
- Stay vigilant and stay safe.
- Before moving onto road check your backlights and indicators.
- Drive cautiously while passing through villages and cities.
- Watch out for stray animals and pedestrians.
- Be extra careful towards bicycle riders during night.
- Never over speed, even on empty roads; a mishap could come in the form of a pot hole or a sudden bump in the middle of the road.
- Be concerned for your own safety as well as the safety of others.
- Never board a poorly maintained passenger vehicle.
- Reporting such vehicles to authorities can save lives.
United Nations First Global Road Safety Week
The United Nations first Global Road Safety Week was observed from 23rd to 29th April 2007, with an objective to reduce the global casualties due to road accidents. Many governments, Non Government Organizations, Private firms joined hands across the globe to make the event a success. Since then many countries are celebrating Road Safety Week in different months. Countries like Botswana, Mexico, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Mexico etc take part in the campaign and spread awareness for the road safety.
Road Safety Week is an opportunity for us to recognize the preciousness of life and make people understand what could be done to save our own life as well as the life of others in vicinity. Even if you don’t get directly involved in the campaign, you can contribute your bit by taking cautions and adhering to traffic rules. Despite all the rules, only you can save your life as well as the life of others if you behave responsibly on road and follow the rules and regulations.