SIAM’s Society for Automotive Fitness & Environment hosts the 22nd Edition of SAFE Annual Convention

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The convention puts 5 E’s — Environment, Education, Enforcement, Engineering,  and Emergency care — of road and vehicular safety in spotlight.  

New Delhi, September 18, 2021: In a bid to strengthen multiple stakeholder sensitization effort towards the environment, road/ vehicular safety, the Society for Automotive Fitness &  Environment (SAFE), a SIAM initiative, conducted its 22nd edition of ‘SAFE Annual  Convention 2021’ on 17th September 2021 on a virtual platform. 

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With the theme of Environment & Road Safety: Enforcement & Compliance”, the convention  witnessed the participation of policy makers and bureaucrats from the central and state governments as well as the industry leaders, scholars and experts on the subject to deliberate  upon the pertinent environment and road safety challenges from the lens of regulation,  enforcement, technology and environment. 

The inaugural session led by Mr Rajesh Menon, Director General, SIAM, read out the message  sent by the Hon’ble Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shri Nitin Jairam Gadkari.  The Hon’ble minister congratulated SIAM and SAFE on the initiative and its participants and  explained that road safety and environment is the need of the hour and hence every  stakeholder should come forward to resolve it. 

As per Mr Rajesh Menon, “Together SAFE and SIAM are working with the Government,  transport departments, traffic polices NGOs, private sector, students & academicians, and  other stakeholders towards the 5E’s of education, enforcement, engineering, environment,  and emergency care. We need to be consistently improvising the efforts.” 

In his opening remark, Mr Prashant K Banerjee, Executive Director, SIAM, said “While the  road safety efforts have gain substantial momentum during Road Safety Week and Road  Safety month, but considering the requirement it should become a daily affair. Hence, under  the leadership of SAFE and SIAM the activities should continue around the year. We are also  launching the SAFE Annual Report capturing all the efforts initiated and conducted by the SAFE  in last one year.” 

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Guest of Honour, Mr K C Gupta, Additional Secretary, MoRTH, Commenting upon the  road accident statistics, said “We account for 11% of road deaths in the entire world,  although we have only 1% of world vehicles in India. US has 4.6 times higher road accidents  than India, but when it comes to number of deaths due to road accidents, their fatalities is  25% of India. However, India is on the top. This is a major concern for all of us and it needs  immediate intervention of all stakeholders.” 

Guest of Honour, Mr Rajesh Kumar Singh, Principal Secretary – Transport, Government of  Uttar Pradesh, said “The matter of road accidents and fatalities cannot be resolved by  enforcement solely. There are many factors responsible for these avoidable deaths like, road  qualities, safety measures in vehicles, etc. Every state has to device a specific policy to  eradicate the problem. The most trusted policy to do so is to enhance awareness.”  

Elaborating upon impact of unsafe roads, Mr Anupam Shrivastava, President – SAFE, said, “Road accidents have direct impact on human capital. In 2019, India recorded 4,37,396 road  accident cases with 1,54,732 fatalities. Apart from the enormous human toll, the road safety has a major economic impact.” 

Sharing an international perspective, Dr. Sudeshna Mitra, Transport Specialist, World Bank, USA, said “Over 69% of accident fatalities happens in the age group between 18to45. In South  Asia, rapid growth of heterogonous mix of traffic and vehicles are making the roads unsafe  and vulnerable for road users. We should have targeted enforcement. There needs to be an  institutional ownership of the problem.”  

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Giving an overview of SAFE efforts, Mr Pankaj Gupta, Vice President, SAFE, expressed, “This  year the National Road Safety Campaign was a month-long event. Through SIAM SAFE, we  were able to connect with different parts of the country, with school children and commercial  vehicle drivers.” 

Followed by the inaugural session, the first panel discussion on “Strong Leadership by  Enforcement Authority and improved Road Safety Management” was graced by Guest of  Honour Mr K C Gupta and Mr Rajesh Kumar Singh. Other distinguished Panellists were Mr  Niju Azhakesan, Director – Technical Support Group, Kerala Road Safety Authority; Mr Praveer  Ranjan, IPS, DGP, UT Chandigarh; Mr L P Padalia, IAS, Commissioner, Road Safety Authority,  Gujarat; Dr K K Srinath Raghavan, Chief Manager, RGB Labs, IIT Madras; and Mr Nidhi Singh,  Joint Transport Commissioner, Government of Rajasthan. The session was moderated by Mr  Pankaj Doval, Senior Editor, The Times of India. 

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The second session on “Contribution of Corporates & NGOs in Protecting Environment & Road  Safety” had experts debate upon the role of companies and civil society in ensuring adherence  to road safety measures was graced by Justice A M Sapre, Chairman, Supreme Court  Committee on Road Safety, along with distinguished participants including Mr Ravi Avalur,  Head of Premium Segment Business Unit, Hero MotoCorp Ltd; Mr Kartikeya Joshi, Vice  President, Uno Minda Group; Mr N M Kulkarni, Global Technical Manager, Shell Technology  Centre; Mr Rod King, Love 30 global campaign, UK; Mr Satish Parakh, President, IRF India  Chapter; Mr Ramashankar Pandey, CEO, Hella India was moderated by Mr Parikshit Luthra,  Associate Editor CNBC TV-18. 

Sharing from his experience and close observation to the matter, Justice A M Sapre,  Chairman, Supreme Court Committee on Road Safety, appealed to one and all to take the  issue of road safety as a mission. He expressed that “over-speeding, driving under influence,  using of mobile phones were some of the leading causes of road accidents and fatalities. Police  departments should enhance the efficiency of enforcement.” 

He emphasized that “road accidents are not the will of god, so are avoidable.” 

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The third panel discussion had experts discussing on the “Latest Development on Air Quality  Improvement”. It was attended by Prof (Dr) Adarsh Pal Vig, Chairman, PPCB; Dr Sudheer  Chinta Palli, Scientist -D,MoEF&CC; Mr V Sridhar, Senior Director, Purchase, Honda  Motorcycle & Scooters; Mr Ravindra K U, Senior General Manger, Bosch Ltd and Mr Sudipta  Basu, Executive Director, ECMA, was moderated by Mr Sumantra Barooah, Executive Editor,  Autocar Professional. 

Experts mentioned how leapfrogging to BSVI was a landmark step undertaken by the  Government and the industry. They further discussed on the recent scrappage policy which is  another effective step in preventing the environment degradation and how it is crucial step  to in reducing accidents due to old, unfit and obsolete vehicles. The panel deliberated upon  the challenges of affordability of new vehicles and emerging electronic and hybrid fuel  variants.  

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The 22nd SAFE Annual Convention witnessed deep discussions and knowledge sharing. About SAFE 

SIAM for carrying out various public policy activities, particularly in the field of road safety  and environment, has partnered with various stakeholders and set up the Society for  Automotive Fitness & Environment (SAFE). It works towards facilitating enhancement of the  competitiveness of the Indian Automobile Industry, reducing cost of vehicles, increasing  productivity and achieving global standards of quality. SAFE has been engaging all  stakeholders and organizing its Annual Convention in various states of India, with the  objective of disseminating information about the best practices adopted nationally and  internationally for improvement of road safety and cleaner environment. Since the inception  of the pandemic, SAFE Annual Convention is being organized virtually. The core objective of  SAFE aims to combine Five ‘E’s’ – Environment, Education, Enforcement, Engineering and  Emergency services to make an overall impact on safer driving habits, road discipline, safer  vehicles and roads for reducing casualties and save precious lives. 

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