New Delhi (Sputnik): Urban India is steadily moving in the direction of non-motorised transport to ensure the safety of lives and the environment, believes a section of Indian experts and officials that gathered in the Indian national capital for a two-day global seminar on safer mobility.
Policymakers, researchers, corporate representatives, innovators, law enforcement officers, community leaders and students took part in the affair. The ongoing event is titled "2nd International Conference on Safer Mobility-2019" and is being organised on Thursday and Friday in New Delhi.
Speaking on the occasion, Durga Shanker Mishra, Secretary, Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, emphasised that urban India is moving rapidly in the direction of non-motorised transport to ensure the safety of lives and the environment.
"New and young India is making a difference through various initiatives and campaigns, and developing a network to make a difference. We need this spirit in young people. All need to join this network and technology can make it possible", Mishra said.
Abhay Dhamle, Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H), said that civil society has a great role to play in ensuring greater awareness about road safety.
"Enforcement is fine, but the initiative should come from within and not necessarily from the top (the government). Making comparisons with the West is okay, but in my view, the civic sense is the key for road safety enforcement", he said.
"They (students) have taken ownership of the power of enforcement. They can play a bigger role and I am happy that they have started opening student chapters on road safety across the country. We, however, must go beyond advocacy and social media. Where we are particularly lacking is in the power of data collection on road safety. We need to pay more attention in this area".
According to Rahul Bharti, Executive Vice President (Corporate Affairs) of Maruti Suzuki India Limited, the government is taking very effective steps to ensure safer mobility so much so that vehicle manufacturing standards are nearly at par with standards prevalent across Europe.
Maruti Suzuki India Limited has a 53 percent market share of the Indian passenger car market as of July 2018.
Bharti was addressing the conference on behalf of India's automobile industry. "But still, car manufacturers across the country need to be constant in their quest to make travel by road absolutely safe and accident-free".
Pointing out that an estimated 70 percent of the road accidents in India are driver-related, he said: "Technology can only address safer mobility-related problems up to a point".
According to India's Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRT&H), around 80,000 people die in road accidents annually. The number amounts to 13 percent of the total number of fatalities across the world. And, primarily drivers are the reason for most of these accidents
In most cases, a crash occurs either due to carelessness or lack of road safety awareness, adding that it is essential to promote road safety education like any other basic skill required for survival at every available opportunity.