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The Youth Ki Awaaz On Road Safety In Indian Cities

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Safer Roads for YouEditor’s Note: This post is a part of #SaferRoadsForYou, a campaign by Safer Roads for Gurugram and Youth Ki Awaaz to understand the behaviour of road users and advocate for the importance of road safety. Join this conversation and tell us about your experience on Indian roads here.

In 2015, India was among the signatories of the Brasilia Declaration, and committed to reducing road fatalities and accidents by 50% by 2020. As of 2018, however, India is still far behind on meeting this target. The country still sees a whopping 1,00,000+ annual deaths on roads, and the number of injuries is about 2 to 3 times higher.

Youth Ki Awaaz and Safer Roads for Gurugram conducted a nationwide, online survey to identify gaps in awareness of road safety rules and regulations and behaviour patterns of young people on the roads. Drawing 7,552 responses from respondents belonging to different age groups, genders and locations, the survey threw up interesting insights based on which existing mechanisms can be strengthened to improve road safety in India.

Demographics of young people who responded to the Youth Ki Awaaz Survey on Road Safety
Demographics of respondents
Locations of young people who responded to the Youth Ki Awaaz Survey on Road Safety
Respondent locations

Here’s a brief snapshot of the Youth Ki Awaaz on Road Safety in India: 

It’s a sad reality that 377 people lose their lives in road related accidents in India everyday. A lot of these lives could be saved if bystanders intervened in road accidents and chose to help victims by getting them CPR or to the nearest hospital on time. However, a key issue that stands in the way of this is the fear road users have of getting into trouble with authorities for helping victims on the road.

To change this, in 2016, the Supreme Court of India gave “force of law” to the guidelines for the protection of Good Samaritans issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, which provides “legal protection to bystanders who come to the aid and rescue of victims of road crashes”.

While this is a good step in the right direction, the reality is starkly different:

Are young people in India aware of the Good Samaritan Law?

Lack of awareness of the law is a key reason why road users continue to be apathetic to the needs of road accident victims. Even in India’s largest cities, all of which fall under the list of top 10 cities for most road-related accidents, according to data issued by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in 2016, awareness of the Good Samaritan Law remains low, as can be seen in the chart below.

Statewise division of the knowledge of Good Samaritan Law

The chief reasons for so many road related accidents and fatalities occurring on Indian roads are born out of human error, the Ministry reports. Chief among these, are over speeding, drunken driving, distracted driving, jumping the red light and avoidance of wearing a seat belt or helmet. Despite several ad campaigns and awareness programmes being run by the government and civic society bodies, these issues persist. Perhaps a reason for this is that these programmes aren’t reaching young people at the scale that they ought to, as indicated by the chart below.

Are government and civic initiatives for better road safety working in India?

A whopping 84% of young people say they haven’t heard of the initiatives being taken by the government and civic society to ensure better road safety. Given this, and other reasons, road users continue to indulge in behaviours that risk their safety on the road.

Do young people observe road traffic and safety rules in India?

Even among young people, there is a section that has admitted to jumping red lights on roads (1513 respondents said so), many of whom (20%) have indulged in this behaviour as recently as the previous month. One reason could be the lack of enforcement of the law which fines people who jump the red light, as 14% of the respondents said they weren’t aware of the fine to be paid for jumping red lights.

Are young people aware of the fine for jumping the red light on roads in India?

Across India’s major cities, awareness of the fine for jumping red lights hasn’t reached every last person using the road, a key area that requires immediate attention.

Usage of seat belts and helmets have relatively higher numbers among young respondents, as indicated by the chart below; however, there’s a pressing need to convert this number to cent percent in the near future. 2.8% of the respondents, in fact, admitted to very rarely using helmets and seat belts on the road.

Do young people wear helmets and seat belts while travelling on roads in India?

Despite awareness campaigns and strengthening of laws, the move to curb drunken driving on the road hasn’t eliminated the harmful habit. Throwing light on a frightening trend, 2.4% of the respondents on the survey admitted to drunken driving once a month, and 1.39% admitted to indulging in the habit once a week.

Do young people drink and drive on roads in India?

Pedestrian safety, too, has become a critical concern for authorities to curb road related accidents and fatalities in Indian cities. As the chart below indicates, just a little over half of the respondents on the survey actually wait for the right traffic signal before crossing the road.


Do young people wait for the traffic signal to turn red before crossing the road in India?

Further, a whopping 78% of young respondents said they do not use the foot overbridge to cross the roads. This trend could be an indication that placement and user convenience need to be prioritised more while designing foot overbridges for crossing the road.

Do young people use the foot overbridge to cross roads in India?

These responses indicate just how much more and in what direction the government, media and civic society need to align efforts to improve road safety and instil safer road user behaviours to lower accidents, road fatalities and strengthen the systems on India’s roads.

This is just a snapshot of what the Youth Ki Awaaz and Safer Roads for Gurugram survey revealed. For more insights, drop us an email on 


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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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