Seeking ideas on making roads safer

To curb increasing number of road accidents and resultant deaths, two organisations, Underwriters Laboratories and Ashoka, launched a road safety campaign here on Thursday.

The campaign, titled ‘Safer Roads, Safer India’ seeks to indulge people as well as organisations in a global competition to innovate feasible ideas that will help enhance safety on roads. 

Speaking at the press conference, Dr G Gururaj of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans) said: “The idea of road safety came into prominence in India from the year 2000. Unfortunately, the graph here has considerably risen in respect to the number of deaths and casualties. Over 15 government departments are involved in directly or indirectly with the idea of road safety and also show concern but this has not been converted into action. We as citizens are not unaware but are not just empathetic enough.” 

It was said that over 1,30,000 people die in India each year due to road accidents, 700 of them are from Bangalore alone. In the year 2012, 2,10,000 fatalities occurred in India, according to the figures provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Infrastructure expert Ashwin Mahesh said: “We always focus on what needs to be done rather than who needs to do what. When it is a social problem, it is everybody’s responsibility, hence nobody’s responsibility. This is what needs to be changed. 

Time and again it has been proven that things that have received continuous attention have rendered good results. So, instead of having a road safety week, where the idea dies within a week, why can’t we keep going? It is not enough to design a road but the signal, the footpath and several other things along with it.” 

The competition aims to identify solutions by involving citizens as well as organisations. The six best ideas are to be awarded prizes worth Rs 18,00,000. The details can be found at www.change makers.com/saferoads.

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