Ace Driving and Road Safety Pvt Ltd trains drivers from all walks of life and various sectors of the industry. The institute’s instructors have trained more than 1,20,000 drivers so far.
With drivers’ fault being the cause of nearly 78% road accidents in India, the importance of having trained drivers on the road with proper driving skills cannot be overemphasised. Ace Driving and Road Safety Education, established in Navi Mumbai in 2001, is a drivers’ training institute which trains drivers from all walks of life and various sectors of industry – cars, light vehicles, heavy vehicles and forklifts – in defensive driving and other essential safe driving skills. The institute runs on the vision that accidents in India can be minimised if drivers are more careful and drive defensively. Its team of ten dedicated drivers has conducted 4320 training programmes so far, and trained about 1,20,000 drivers. Ashutosh Atray, Founder-Director of the institute says, “In 2001, while working for Orix Auto and Business Solutions as Head, Technical Division, I was often confronted by complaints from rental car customers about the poor quality of drivers. We hired a trainer from the UK, Dr Wagner to impart training to our drivers. While attending his sessions I realised that despite driving for many years, I did not know many concepts such as defensive driving and its finer aspects. Based on Dr Wagner’s sessions, I developed a brief presentation to suit Indian driving. This presentation made a definite impact on the drivers; their performance improved and the customers’ complaints reduced drastically. One of our existing clients Monsanto, seeing that we were offering a drivers’ training programme, asked us to train their drivers. This was the first drivers’ training programme I carried out hesitantly as I was not sure of the response. But the programme was very well appreciated. Encouraged, I developed a comprehensive training module, and began training programmes on a regular basis.”
Today Ace Driving conducts many training programmes – Road Safety Awareness programme, Driving Assessment and Audit programme, Traffic Safety Survey / Journey Risk Management study of a company, Hazardous Goods Transportation programme, Safe Forklift Training Programme and an E-Learning Road Safety programme. The main point taught in the Road Safety Awareness programme is that drivers should understand the mistakes committed by other road users if they wish to remain accident free — mistakes such as over-speeding, wrong overtaking and drunken driving. In addition, the benefits of anticipation and concentration, following of road rules and hazard perception are explained in detail. The entire programme is supported by a number of films, audio-visuals and case studies to drive home the point effectively. Atray adds, “There is a definite change in the perspective of the participants after attending the programme. Many participants retain the driving lessons and practices they learn for a long time and are immensely benefited.”
The Driving Assessment and Audit programme uses various parameters to assess drivers – proper use of indicators, correct use of rear and side view mirrors, the position of holding the steering wheel, clutch riding, braking, anticipation skills, the following of road signs, synchronisation and pre-starting checks. Based on the deficiencies observed, the drivers are graded into different categories – Safe, Low Risk, At Risk and High Risk. The assessment helps drivers to understand their mistakes and correct them. The drivers rated ‘At Risk’ or ‘High Risk’ are not allowed to drive by their respective companies. These drivers undergo refresher courses and training to improve their skills, and re-take the road test till they are rated as ‘Safe’ or ‘Low Risk’ drivers.
The programme also evaluates vehicles with a comprehensive check list using a Repair/ Replace/ Retain Analysis. The Traffic Safety Survey / Journey Risk Management programme is an elaborate exercise which highlights the basic safety requirements related to transportation inside a plant. Generally plants are built keeping in mind commercial considerations such as operational efficiency. Due to this, many safety parameters are compromised, especially when the plant carries out capacity expansion. The Traffic Safety Survey suggests segregation of traffic, suitable illumination levels and junction improvements taking into account the traffic movement and density inside the plant. Sometimes the survey may suggest an alternate, more effective plan for traffic movement. Ace Driving has conducted such surveys at Ambuja Cement, UltraTech Cement, Hindustan Unilever and Reliance plants where its suggestions have often been implemented. A brochure on Journey Risk Management made by Ace Driving for Hindustan Unilever Ltd, Nashik not only led to the suggested changes in the brochure being implemented in the company’s in-plant traffic infrastructure, but also to the programme being recommended to other corporate companies in the neighbourhood.