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Book Excerpt: Have a Safe Journey, first anthology on road safety in India

The book has stories contributed from well-known authors like Anand Neelkantan, Ashwin Sanghi, Kiran Marnal amongst others. Another part of the book has contributions from the general public.

books Updated: Sep 08, 2017 13:15 IST
Nitin Gadkari
Nitin Gadkari
Hindustan Times
Anand Neelkantan,Ashwin Sanghi,Kiran Marnal
If children grow up reading stories about road safety, the issue will be etched deep in their psyche and they will be encouraged to become responsible road users.

One of the main reasons for the high casualty rate of road accident victims was the huge amount of time wasted in making quality emergency care available to them. To address this, based on a directive from the Honourable Supreme Court, the government has laid out specific guidelines whereby a good Samaritan helping a road victim will not face any harassment from the hospital, police and related authorities. Over a period of time, this step is bound to reduce accident fatalities. Moreover, the government stands committed to get the Motor Vehicles Amendment Bill passed in Parliament. The bill was introduced by me in August 2016. But since then it has been pending for review with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism, and Culture. The focus of the amendment bill, apart from strict norms, is the safety of road users, road accident victims, stricter norms for driving licences and stiffer penalties for law violators.

In addition to all these, my ministry is pushing for intelligent traffic systems which will enable authorities to immediately track, real-time, when there is a traffic violation. Modernising systems with the latest technology is at the top on my ministry’s agenda for now. While these are some of the key steps taken by the government, I firmly believe that NGOs, the corporate sector and citizen groups have an equally important role to play in reducing road-accident fatalities.

In fact, the role of the automobile sector in promoting road safety is very crucial. And here, I wish to laud the efforts of the Mahindra Group and my friend Anand Mahindra for always coming up with innovative initiatives to create awareness about the issue. I am impressed by the #HaveASafeJourney initiative, which harnesses the power of written stories to educate readers about the gravity of the problem.

Literature has always been a very potent medium in bringing about social changes. I am confident that if our children grow up reading stories about road safety, the issue will be etched deep in their psyche and they will be encouraged to become responsible road users. Besides, a book on road safety is also likely to subsequently encourage a TV series or a film on the same theme. And hence, over the years, literature and the audiovisual creative media, can be leveraged to raise the road-safety campaign to another level altogether. Foreword xiii

Our road-safety campaign needs to become a people’s movement. I aspire for the day when every responsible citizen of the country voluntarily takes a pledge to drive safe. This pledge is important, considering the amount of damage one inflicts upon his/her family, as well as other families, by being an irresponsible road user. Apart from this book, I have asked mass media teaching institutes to come forth and dedicate all their student projects for a given year to road safety.

I am confident that these efforts will increase the participation and involvement of our young citizens in improving road safety. As of today, we are faced with a stiff target of reducing road accident fatalities by 50 per cent by the year 2020. Though the task is difficult, it is not impossible. In this context, I am very optimistic that initiatives such as #HaveASafeJourney will open up new avenues to make road safety a people’s movement.

The copyright of individual stories vests with the respective authors or their estates.

Published By Amaryllis Publishing.

First Published: Sep 08, 2017 13:15 IST