Building Road Heroes Today For A More Responsible Tomorrow

Road accident-related deaths are a major concern for India. In the year 2018 alone, over 1.5 lakh lives were lost, making India rank number one in road accident-related deaths according to the report of World Road Statistics. This is a frightening situation and it is even more disturbing to note that the victims of about 69.6% of these accidents have been young adults belonging to the age group of 18-45.

The loss of young lives is a major cause of worry as it is not just human lives that are lost but also the economic growth potential of the country, by causing a loss of about 5% of the GDP every year. It is for this reason that India had signed the Brasilia Declaration in 2015 and had pledged to work towards reducing road accidents and fatalities by half by the year 2020.

As the largest youth-led organisation that is working towards improving road safety in India, Indian Road Safety Campaign strives to combat these with the help of an elaborate network of students and youth volunteers who are associated with the organisation and working closely with people from WHO, UN, Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, State Governments, Supreme Court, TRIPP, etc. to create reforms in the various sectors.

School Session
A school session is held to introduce the basics of road safety. (Photo provided by author)

It is a shame that the country’s precious human resource is being wasted because of accidents occurring due to causes such as over speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, not wearing seat belts, not wearing helmets, tripling on two-wheelers, jumping red lights, etc. –  all of which could have been avoided simply through proper enforcement of road safety laws. Therefore, making the youth aware of the current situation and training them to respond properly after the occurrence of road accidents can play a crucial role in saving lives.

The IRSC is approaching school students as a part of Hero Motocorp’s Be A Road Hero campaign, along with Hindustan Times, to educate young children about road safety. The Be A Road Hero campaign aims to conduct interactive sessions for students of Classes III to VIII is an ingenious attempt to educate them about road safety signs and rules, the Good Samaritan rule, etc. through various activities.

The sessions are ended by making the students take the Hero pledge for road safety. Inculcating young minds with responsible road traffic habits can go a long way in ensuring road safety and this is what the organisation aims to achieve by targeting school children in their awareness drives, for which about 50 schools have been covered across Delhi and NCR in the month of December. Visiting schools can also help bring into the spotlight the lapses that are present in the road safety laws for children.

School Session
Doubts the students have about road safety tenets are addressed. (Photo provided by author)

For instance, there are no strict laws against the practice of seating children on the mother’s lap without a seat belt; child seats and restraints remain an unknown concept despite the fact that these can reduce the risk of death during crashes by 70% according to the data provided by the WHO. Also, the importance of child helmets has been a matter of continuous negligence both on the part of the passengers and that of the government.

So far, India has not met the commitment made in the Brasilia Declaration. The poor conditions of the roads and infrastructure, lack of strict road safety laws that are at par with the global standard, lack of a uniform maximum speed for the vehicles in India, an abysmal system of emergency response after an accident, etc. along with the lack of proper enforcement of the pre-existing laws are some of the areas that need work and it is only through the involvement of the youth that these problems can be resolved.

Making the masses aware of road safety laws is a humongous task and a large number of enthusiastic individuals need to come together to achieve complete success in this endeavor. The awareness sessions thus provide an innovative method to attain both the education and participation of the youth towards building a safer India.

Featured image provided by author.
Similar Posts

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 Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’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.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below