Members of the all-women team at the flag-off for the road safety rally
Members of the all-women team at the flag-off for the road safety rallyDrive Smart Drive Safe

India’s first National Championship on Safe Speed Driving kicked off to mark National Road Safety Month

The all-women team drove on-camera with live public tracking from Amritsar to Kanyakumari, as part of a larger effort to propagate the importance of safe driving practices, as part of the National Road Safety Month

India’s first ever national championship on safe driving witnessed an all-women team embarking on a never before mission from Amritsar to Kanyakumari in. Believing in “Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha” NGO, Drive Smart Drive Safe, along with FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry), SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, launched this mass campaign on road safety, titled #SafeSpeedChallenge, in the format of National Road Safety Championship Challenge. The campaign started on January 18, during the Ministry’s first ever National Road Safety Month, and was flagged off by Rajnath Singh (Minister of Defence of India) and Nitin Gadkari (Minister for Road transport and Highways).

The women challengers – Chaitanya Keloth, Amritha Arvind, Neha Dua, Garima Avtar and Sunita Dugar – took on a never before mission on a 24x7 Live-On-Camera National Championship of Safe Driving. Defeating an estimated 3.5 lakh potholes and road risks, the group covered close to 3500km from Amritsar to Kanyakumari via Chandigarh, Delhi, Jaipur, Udaipur, Vadodara, Mumbai, Goa, Mangalore, Kozhikode and Thiruvananthapuram. The rally reached its final destination on January 29. Over the distance spanning almost the entire length of the country, the challengers observed safe driving practices, such as staying within speed limits and maintaining safe distance from other cars in the convoy, as well as traffic in general.

The Ed flagging off the rally
The Ed flagging off the rallyDrive Smart Drive Safe

The objective of the campaign was to start a sustainable chain of nationwide activities, to not only make people aware and transform their behaviour on the roads, but also lead to alerting and assisting drivers directly on the road, saving many lives and training the drivers while simultaneously participating in a national championship. The theme of the campaign was speed management, identified as the most critical life- saving intervention identified during the Third Global Ministerial Conference on Road Safety.

The rally further motivated citizens to join the national championship across the country as a popular game to learn speed management themselves, through voice alerts on a mobile app. Anyone can download the India Against Road Crash app to participate or register for the challenge on the website, take the eight-point Road Safety Pledge, receive an instant participation certificate and challenge their friends and family by tagging them on social media and drive safely during Road Safety month, using the App. Essentially, the app prompts you to slow down when alerted for any safety hazard, and score #SafespeedMiles in kilometres to win the championship and take home the trophy.

The nation's top scorers will get pride of place on the leaderboard (right)
The nation's top scorers will get pride of place on the leaderboard (right)Drive Smart Drive Safe

The challenge is also open to organisations and teams to participate, with the top organisations figuring separately on a leaderboard on the website. The app users also stand to get free access to 3.5 lakh AI-generated Road Risk Voice Alerts and optional Personalised Driving Score. The Top 100 scorers will further receive an innovative SOS key to help in case of an emergency and Top 1000 app scorers will receive three months of free road side assistance for breakdowns. For the first time ever, national recognition will be given on driving safe. On the completion of 1000 Safe Speed Miles, participants will receive personalised a non-cloneable Champion Trophy Sticker for their vehicle signed by Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road transport and Highways

The campaign is also reaching out to commercial vehicle drivers by rewarding them for driving safe. The campaign aims to sensitise truck drivers on road safety by motivating them to take the eight-point Road Safety Pledge and then download the app and receive incentives for Safe Speed Miles earned during their daily drive. The top ten drivers will get health insurance benefits and the first 100 commercial drivers clocking 5000km of safe miles in a month will get 500 rupees worth of Paytm vouchers.

Mahindra was the principal sponsor of the rally
Mahindra was the principal sponsor of the rallyDrive Smart Drive Safe

The IARC platform has also started first ever 24-hour live TV channel only on road safety, beaming road safety messages from morning till evening from the website and on various social media handles of all collaborating organizations. Everyday experts from world over join and discuss various aspects on road safety including engineering, education, enforcement, and emergency medical services.

The IARC platform engaged audiences with a quiz every two hours centred on road safety, and also conducted an hour-long talk show, hosted by Ravinder Gautam during the road safety month. The show had the women challengers as panelists along with road safety experts, and spoke about road fatalities, statistics, issues related to safer vehicle, infrastructure, dash cams, life of accident victims, insurance claim procedures for victims and many other topics.

The campaign was sponsored by Mahindra, with associate sponsor ZF Wabco and Hella India lighting. The campaign is also supported by NSCI, ASDC, FADA, ACMA, IGCC, AITWA and AIMA on a collaborative platform #IndiaAgainstRoadCrash built together with many like-minded organisations to collectively fight deaths on Indian Roads, through awareness, trainings and self-enforcement across the organisational ecosystem.

“With safe roads and safe vehicles, we may save millions of lives on Indian roads, but not without safety-loving citizens. With public participation and making it a national priority to arrest alarming road deaths, we will definitely save Lives, #JabHumBadlengeTohDeshBadlega. Let's #BeTheChange and transform our traffic sense, join the #SafeSpeedChallenge and spread the word, as none of us want to be among those 415 lives lost every day on Indian Roads,” said Rama Shankar Pandey, MD-Hella India Lighting Ltd, and president CWC, Drive Smart-Drive safe

“We are glad to be associated with the NGO Drive Smart Drive Safe, SIAM and other stakeholders on this innovative mass campaign during Ministry’s 1st ever Road Safety Month. This campaign is one of its kind as it focuses on Safe Driving Behaviour by Trusting Road Users, Incentivizing & Recognizing them for good behaviour and Asist and Alarm them on Roads. The theme “speed management” is enticing and thrilling and we look forward to the youth of the country to participate in the challenge and earn more and more #safemiles by using the App”, said Dilip Chenoy , Secretary General, FICCI.

Mahindra supports the philosophy of #SaferDrivesSaferLives and is happy to be a part of the Road Safety event in collaboration with D2S, SIAM & FICCI. Mahindra encourages this collaborative effort to ensure a nation-wide reduction of road fatalities,” said Vijay Nair, VP-ERAD and HEAD, AFS ADMIN and CSR, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd

The month-long campaign aims to spread nationwide mass awareness, inspire people to take the pledge and drive safe challenge activities in an innovative and participative format. The campaign appeals to organisations to participate in this one of its kind challenge in the history of road safety initiatives.

Even though India has made substantial progress when it comes to safer mobility, and vehicles today are equipped with advanced safety features, incidences of road fatalities continue to remain unabated. As per NCRB (National Crime Records Bureau), in India, 4,37,396 road accidents were recorded in 2019, resulting in the death of 1,54,732 people and injuries to another 4,39,262. To contain these alarming statistics, an awareness campaign needs to be spread with people's active participation to highlight the dangers of over-speeding, importance of keeping safe distances with other vehicles plying on the road, putting in place the right infrastructure and proper maintenance of roads – removal of pot-holes and poorly constructed roads. SIAM, as a responsible association of automobile manufacturers, has always been working towards promoting safer and sustainable mobility and will continue to put in concerted efforts along with all stakeholders to alleviate this crippling problem. This year, SIAM is happy to partner in the Safe Speed Challenge campaign aimed at bringing awareness among our fellow citizens,” said Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM

ZF has a vision for next-generation mobility built on the principals of Zero Accidents, Zero Emissions. ZF WABCO, as an industry leader in innovating commercial vehicle safety technology in India, has been championing the drive for road safety by adapting advanced active safety technologies specifically for our local market. Over the years, road safety has also been one of the key pillars of our CSR outreach program, with particular emphasis on CV driver training and upskilling in our industry. We are honoured to be a partner to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in this cause and welcome this opportunity to contribute to its vision and drive for zero road accidents in India,” said P Kaniappan, Managing Director, WABCO India.

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