Automobile Association of Upper India – Educating drivers, students and public about road safety
Automobile Association of Upper India (AAUI) has been regularly associated with the Road Safety Weeks over the years. For Road Safety Week 2011, the organisation will undertake various activities. It will distribute road safety literature—pamphlets and booklets on road safety, and get public feedback from motorists and commuters on traffic hurdles and the state of road infrastructure in different parts of the country. It will also display flex banners on road safety at important road intersections and at RTOs and at transport department offices in various states, displaying this year’s road safety theme, “Accidents bring tears and Safety brings cheers”. To educate students and pupils it will organise an on-the-spot painting competition with road safety as its theme. The pamphlets that will be distributed include “Learning to Drive,” “Driving License is no License for disaster…” and the booklets “Think Before You Drive” and “Make Cars Green”. These literatures will be distributed to pedestrians, and drivers of two wheelers and four-wheelers on busy intersections. In addition, these will also be handed over on a daily basis to the trainees admitted in AASU’s Driving School. Other programmes for drivers include eye camps for drivers above 50 years and face-to-face interactive sessions with different drivers – women, teenagers and older drivers. It will also seek drivers’ support for its campaign “Make Roads Safe” by launching a signature campaign. A specially designed New Year card incorporating the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’s message “Accidents bring tears, Safety bring cheers” was printed and distributed. T K Malhotra, President, AAUI was presented a certificate of appreciation by the Minister for Road Transport and Highways for the organisation’s efforts during Road Safety 2010.
ADRSE to conduct safety awareness programs
Pune-based Ace Driving & Road Safety Education Pvt Ltd (ADRSE), a training institution which trains drivers in minimising road crashes and fatalities, is organising road safety programmes in different parts of Maharashtra. On January 3rd it will organise a programme at Abbott Healthcare, Mumbai, and on January 9th and 10th at Abbott Healthcare, Kolkata. On January 4th it will lead an awareness drive at the transport department at Dhule. Other programmes include a “Train the Trainers” programme at Navi Mumbai on January 7th and a programme for school children at Airoli, Navi Mumbai on January 9th. ADRSE has conducted more than 1800 driving training programs all over India and other countries on road safety awareness, and has trained more than 50,000 drivers so far.
Cellphones and driving – A lethal combination
There have been an increasing number of reports about drivers and pedestrians in India using cell phones while driving and walking, with a large number of these drivers and pedestrians involved in accidents, many of then fatal. Research studies have now found that the use of cell phones puts a heavy load on the brain’s resources, and does not allow it to pay attention to the skills needed for driving. One such study at the University of Utah, USA, using simulators, found that the drivers talking on cell phones while driving were as impaired in their driving skills as those under intoxication. They were nine percent slower in applying brakes, 19 percent slower at resuming normal speed after applying brakes, drove slightly slower and were more likely to cause crashes. A few volunteers in the study, talking on cell phones while driving the simulator, also collided with other cars. Similar studies in the UK, Canada, Australia and Sweden’s National Road Administration (SNRA) concluded that the risk of accidents was four times higher when a driver engaged in a conversation on a cell phone while driving. These results were the same for both hand-held cell phones and hands-free, thus pointing to the fact that the distraction was mainly not from the hands but the demand on the neural resources and other senses to conduct the two tasks of talking and driving at the same time. Closer home, a Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) report points out that the driver’s auditory ability to process sounds on the road such as sounds from other vehicles, horns, policemen’s whistles, emergency-sirens, and other sounds that may require him to alter his course, are limited because the two-way conversation on the phone requires his brain to both hear process auditory information and respond adequately. As a result, other ambient sounds tend to be filtered out. Similarly his visual capabilities are limited because he is busy in trying to locate the correct buttons on the phone to key in a message, typing a number or reading a message. Thus his capabilities to check the rear and side view mirrors, keeping an eye on the road, checking the dashboard and other essential driving skills are diminished. The driver looks but cannot see and hears but cannot pay attention. Thus talking on cell phones and driving is a lethal combination that should be avoided.