CAG in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu Consumer Protection and Environment Research Centre (TNCPERC), Tiruvarur organised a workshop on ‘Strengthening Road Safety Decision Making’ for members of the District Road Safety Committee (DRSC) on the 18th of July, 2022. The workshop aimed at sharing knowledge of global best practices on road safety emphasising the need for robust road safety legislation, increased penalties to act as deterrents and leveraging the use of technology for improved enforcement. The session was inaugurated by the District Revenue Officer, Mr. P. Chidambaram who highlighted the road safety challenges in Tiruvarur district and that careless road user behaviour should be addressed. He also appreciated that this workshop would kick-start discussions and lead to the strengthening of the road safety scenario in the district. Multi-disciplinary experts spoke on a range of topics that enabled interactions on improving road safety management in the district. Sumana Narayanan, Senior Researcher spoke on CAG’s work on road safety advocacy and engagement with various stakeholders including the citizens, unions, government officials, and policymakers.
Presenting a snapshot of the global perspective, Sandeep Gaikwad from Parisar, a Civil Society Organisation based out of Pune, spoke of the need to bring the Safe Systems Approach into road safety planning and management in India. He also spoke about the Haddon’s matrix and underlined the need to view crash-related injuries through a wider lens including human, vehicle, environmental and social factors. Dr. Bhargab Maitra from IIT-Kharagpur spoke of the need for coordinated speed management. He pointed out that currently speed limits are set in an arbitrary manner and do not reflect the ground situation. He further recommended that scientific speed limits should be set based on traffic engineering criteria and human injury tolerance. Dr.S.Moses Santhakumar from NIT- Tiruchirappalli while speaking on the application of Intelligent Transport Systems in road crash analysis as well as traffic management, stressed the need for safe infrastructure and a proactive approach to road safety rather than a conventional reactive one.
The workshop concluded with an interactive session with the members of the DRSC discussing road safety concerns in terms of infrastructure and enforcement that need immediate attention and addressal in Tiruvarur. The vote of thanks was delivered by Mr.Ramesh of TNCPERC. Global road safety concepts, result-oriented strategies, and the need for strict enforcement of increased penalties as per MVAA 2019 in Tamil Nadu were the key takeaways from the workshop. The district authorities showcased a substantial interest in taking action to actualise them. The event also received significant media coverage in vernacular print and audio-visual media.
Regional Media Workshop, Tiruvarur
The morning’s event was followed by a media workshop organised by CAG in collaboration with Tamil Nadu Consumer Protection and Environment Research Centre (TNCPERC), Tiruvarur, for various print and audio-visual media reporters and journalists on 18th July, 2022. The workshop aimed at sharing insights on global road safety perspectives, tying road crash reporting narratives to the existing MVAA 2019 legislation, and a more data-driven approach to highlighting reasons for a road crash rather than just documenting or describing them on the news.
Flyers depicting the national and state-level road crash statistics visually were presented to the participants along with the findings of the helmet and seat belt compliance study conducted in the district of Tiruvarur by CAG. The session began with Sumana Narayanan, Senior Researcher, CAG presenting a snapshot of trends in the road crash statistics over the past five years. It revealed that there is still work that largely needs to be done to improve the road safety scenario in India and in Tamil Nadu. She emphasised how the decrease in road crashes and road fatalities during COVID-19 lockdowns should be considered an aberration; rather it’s important to focus on the nuances and the increase in numbers post the lockdown period. She also spoke on how the media has a huge role in instigating the government to streamline its focus on road safety and hold the authorities accountable for the same.
The workshop witnessed the enthusiastic participation of around 12 local journalists and reporters from the region. The session was led in an interactive manner with the participants sharing some of the persistent road safety issues they report in the Tiruvarur district. It also registered the fact that road safety measures will reap fruit only when all road users take responsibility for their behaviour on roads and strive to create a safe environment for all. The workshop ended with a note to prioritise road safety issues and improve enforcement through effective implementation of the increased penalties as per the MVAA 2019.