The article is Contributed by Akhilesh Srivastava.
Road Safety of the biggest social-economic menaces in India, with over 150,000 people losing lives on the road every year, is denting the Indian economy by nearly 4.5 trillion INR i.e., roughly 3.14% of Indian GDP.
Road Safety 2.0, aims to tackle this issue by introducing technology into all 4 Es of road safety i.e., Education, Engineering, Enforcement and Emergency Care. There are plenty of scopes for Startups to explore more innovative technologies for use in the Road Safety sector and develop scalable and financially viable models.
4 E’s of Road Safety
The main thrust of accident prevention and control across the world has been on 4 E’s i.e. (i) Education; (ii) Engineering; (iii) Enforcement; and (iv) Emergency care of road accident victims.
Various Road Safety Campaigns involving audio-visual and other print media, as well as NGOs, are used to raise awareness. The government has been undertaking various publicity measures through TV spots/Radio spots, cinema slides, distribution of posters, books on road safety signage & signs, organizing Road Safety Week, Seminars, and Exhibitions to raise road safety awareness among the general public.
But despite these measures, a noticeable reduction in accidents figures is not achieved. it is time to add technology for driver’s education or training right from the issuance of driving licenses to periodical upskilling. Intel recently designed one program of drivers training. There can be Mobile Apps, video games, and engaging audio videos for the training of drivers.
Over 80 % of accidents are caused due by avoidable negligence or faults of drivers such as overspeeding, rash driving, poor driving skills, stress, and fatigue. A lot of accidents are mostly by single truck owners, who come from an unorganized ecosystem and drive continuously to maximize their trips. Low-cost technology solutions like HUMSAFER Mobile App can compensate for human limitations and reduce accidents.
Nearly 10% of road accident-related deaths involves children (aged between 5 and 14). Only 17% of schools have roads that showed school zone signage and only 11.5% have speed limits displayed. Thus, there is an urgent need to create Safe School Zone, which not only saves children from accidents but also prepares them for future.
Nearly 15 million reported traffic violations take place annually. These violations lead to collisions and accidents. It is practically impossible to detect such a large number of traffic violations and penalize them manually. As a result, a lot of violators are never caught and penalized, thus encouraging others.
The Motor Vehicles Act of 2019 and the Central Motor Vehicles Rules include several rules that, if properly implemented, will reduce traffic offences by drivers. The state government is largely responsible for enforcing these regulations to enhance road safety.
Thus, there is an urgent need to use the latest technologies, IoT, ANPR, CCTV and Speed cameras to detect traffic violations and penalize the violators by automated system transparently. Considering the size, population and federal structure of India, the bottom-up approach on the PPP model is the only viable solution.
The duty of the enforcement authorities will include the campaigns among the people about drunk/drug driving and the consequences, consequences on no use of seat belts. Also, the points on license, disqualification of license and driving, imprisonment, training courses should be given a priority.
Efficient engineering methods which is a combination of technology and skills will help to get a better safety measure. Creating road environment safe and suitable for all users and needs reliable data to identify where, when, how and why accidents occur Key approaches - Accident investigation, road safety management, road safety audit.
Making the road network safer by engineering measures is the most effective strategy to reduce collisions in the short to medium term by directly addressing road environment problems and attempting to counter or reduce the scope for incorrect road user behaviour/performance. As a result, the majority of stakeholders have established comprehensive Road Safety Plans and programmes, with particular funding allocation for engineering measures that have proven to be effective in reducing collisions.
Collision/Accident Investigation (AI) – A reactive approach that involves investigating hotspots and analysing collision and casualty information and trends to identify areas with higher-than-average collision rates.
Collision / Accident Reduction (AR) – A Road Safety Engineer can use AI to determine whether any of the causation factors highlighted within an existing known pattern can be addressed through safety engineering remedial measures, thereby helping to reduce collision frequency/severity at that site, and if so, whether there are several potential solutions and which ones are best for each particular site.
Collision / Accident Prevention (AP) – Following the AI and AR processes, a Road Safety Engineer develops an effective Road Safety Strategy/Plan and Danger Reduction Plans, as well as providing advice on Road Safety Education, Training, and Publicity Programs. The Road Safety Engineer also implements best practices in AP through the proactive process of Road Safety Auditing.
Emergency Care of Road Accident Victims
Post-accident emergency care is a serious concern in India as nearly 50% of people die on the spot or while transiting to the hospital/trauma centres. If the occurrence of accidents and location can be shared to provide emergency care within golden hours a lot of lives can be saved. Similarly, if travellers can be informed about rest areas & their occupancy status and repairs workshops on the fly, it can be very helpful to them and will reduce fatigue & stress while driving.
National Highway Accident Relief Service Scheme (NHARSS): - The Scheme entails providing cranes and ambulances to States/UTs/NGOs for relief and rescue measures in the aftermath of accidents by way of evacuating road accident victims to the nearest medical aid centre and for clearing the accident site.
The emergency care must include the Incident Response in the form of Emergency Medical Services which will also include fire and rescue and the removal of the hazardous materials from the roads. The other Technological solutions which will result in Emergency Care are the use of E Calls. Setting up connected Level-1 trauma centres and rescue services for immediate target response to incidents and golden hours survival rates tracking can be helpful.