Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting Limited
Statistics reveal that 35 per cent of the accidental death in India is due to road accidents. There is one accident every minute which leads to one death in every four minutes. A survey carried out in the year 2011 states that 5,50,000 accidents were reported. Out of which 3,00,000 were injured and 1,45,000 individuals lost their lives. Shocking! At the recently held 2nd Annual India Commercial Vehicles Summit held at the Westin Hotel in Pune, autojunction caught up with Ramashankar Pandey, Managing Director, Hella India Lighting Limited, and discussed key issues like the need to arrest the alarming level of road deaths in India, raising awareness about road safety and Hella India’s Road Safety Mission.
AJ: What is your take on road accidents in India?
RP: The increase in motorization in India, has brought with itself the adverse challenge of road accidents. These road accidents often lead to deaths, injuries, loss of an earning member in the family and loss of productivity. A lot of attention is required to be given to road safety conditions in India and be cannot be ignored as every one minute there is a road accident in India and every four minute a road death. Hella India Lighting Ltd is committed to the cause of bringing down the number of road deaths in India by 10 per cent by the end of this decade and therefore, has its complete focus on inception of a mass revolution for creating awareness and at the same time developing technology enabled products leading to better visibility on roads.
AJ: Who according to you are the parties primarily responsible for ensuring road safety?
RP: Road safety is a shared responsibility between vehicle owners, drivers, infrastructure providers, automobile manufacturers and enforcing agencies. There’s a need of a strong platform where all the parties can come together and create a situation where no aspect related to raod safety is neglected. It has been recorded that 78.5 per cent of road accidents are caused due to driver's negligence in India. In a situation like this any efforts to assist the driver by technology intervention will impact reducing these numbers. There’s a special need for proactive intervention of auto-aftermarket companies in India.
AJ: In your opinion what is one of the key factors which results in road accidents?
RP: We believe that the intensity of damages and fatality during many accidents on Indian roads increases dramatically due to poor vehicle visibility, its recognition, resulting into inadequate response system for drivers. Many studies have verified the importance of having sufficient and good quality front lighting and signaling systems to avoid accidents at night. Reducing road deaths is a must to ensure sustainability of mobility in India. Hella with its responsibility in reducing accidents due to poor visibility, has worked on developing smart lighting solutions for Indian market. The products are in line with Hella’s mission to promote road safety in India as it clearly defines safety.
AJ: Tell us about Hella India’s Road Safety Mission.
RP: The company’s vision is to be able to create and unlock a new value paradigm for the motivation of its own employees, suppliers and customers towards this cause. Safety on Indian roads is the emotional connect that can be seen in every Hella employee. With the current status of the industry, there is a long way to go to ensure our active participation in reducing the numbers of road accidents. A safety club called D2S – Drive Smart Drive Safe – has been formed as a CSR activity to spread awareness about safety critical Do’s and Don’ts. We have taken the initiative for arresting the alarming number of road deaths starting a nationwide project – Hella India’s Road Safety Mission. We welcome enforcing agencies, automobile manufacturers, NGO’s, educational institutes, media house, and others to join their forces with us for this cause.
Hella has initiated the process of sensitising the common man on road about safety. Much of this can be avoided by following safety rules on road especially during night. It’s very important “TO SEE And TO BE SEEN” while driving. Safety should be considered from both aspects, the vehicle should be seen and at the time the driver should be able to see other vehicle on road. Often, the key reasons of accidents are : poor visibility, no use of dip beam lights and vehicles not being seen. Visibility to assist drivers is in the scope of Hella India’s Strategy.
AJ: What are the different activities that Hella is undertaking as part of the Hella India’s Road Safety Mission?
RP: As a part of the Road Safety Mission, Hella wants to carry out integrated campaigns that have combined strong targeted mass communication with high visibility enforcement as it has proven to be most effective in creating real measurable change in public behaviour. Mass communications is a crucial tool in educating the public on using the roads safely and in altering driver behaviour as well as usage of technology to reduce the fatalities on road.
In the past we have carried out no-honking campaigns, walkathon in Chandigarh along with Chandigarh Traffic Police, road safety campaigns in auto expo and Jaipur auto expo and street plays during auto expo. Very recently we got support from NHAI and they have become road safety partners with Hella. We carried out first ever interactive campaign on national highway at Delhi-Panipat Toll Plaza. We also got support from L & T IDPL during our campaign. Hella employees gave out the flyers to all the travellers passing the toll that included cars, trucks, buses, motorbikes, autos and cyclists. We had high held banners and posters with strong message of road death numbers. Also, our employees made sure that people who do not have their seat belts on, they wear it. We stopped people from using their mobile phones even if they were in toll queue. We passed on the message telling people that “Love your family and be safe on roads by following road safety norms” as we gave red roses to all commuters on the highway.
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