SaveLIFE Foundation commits to support the development of a robust national road safety law for India and work with different stakeholder groups within and outside the Parliament to ensure that a strong law is passed and a legislatively-backed new enforcement mechanism is implemented.
In order to enact the commitment, SaveLIFE Foundation will invest in building two separate forums or groups: a Forum of 100 Members of Parliament (MPs) who support Road Safety; and a Forum of 100 families affected by the epidemic. The forum of MPs will be established in the capital city of Delhi as that is the seat of the Parliament and all MPs are housed there. The forum of families will include 100 families from Delhi and the States of Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Karnataka. Delhi has the highest number of road crash deaths among all cities in India and the three States together constitute nearly 30% of all road crashes and related deaths, making them the source for reaching out to affected families.
The two groups will meet frequently and work closely with SaveLIFE Foundation in advocating for the passage of a strong national road safety law. SaveLIFE Foundation will contribute the following skills, expertise, capacity and resources to the commitment:
1) Strong network within the bureaucracy and polity will be used to create forums for families to make representations to MPs and for MPs to brief their colleagues and officers
2) Strong research capability that will provide data and statistics for the MPs and families to use in different for a such as within the Parliament, at Press Conferences, on Social media, and in other kinds of messaging that the groups will carry out in partnership with SaveLIFE Foundation
3) A team of in-house experts in law, research, network/partnership management and communication who will plan and manage the various events and activities involving the two groups
4) Strong leadership to implement strategic plans that will ensure the larger vision to direct the groups toward asking for a strong road safety law
Partners of SaveLIFE Foundation will contribute to the commitment in the following ways:
Global Road Safety Partnership will provide partial funding up to ,000 for a period of 15 months and access to global best practices in managing groups and forums
Echoing Green will provide access to additional funding up to ,000 for a period of 15 months
Q4 2014: Identify at least 100 families and 100 parliamentarians to work with. The families will be identified on the basis of their commitment to take action on the issue. With respect to Parliamentarians, the exercise will include mapping the current members on the basis of their work and interest in relation to Road Safety. For instance the statistic regarding the loss of 3% of India' GDP annually due to road accidents would be pitched to Parliamentarians concerned with economic development, poverty, etc. and champions willing to take up the issue will be invited to join the forum. The MPs who agree to join will be requested to involve their friends and colleagues from within the Parliament.
Q1 2015: Formally launch the two groups and conduct the first set of meetings with them to explain the advocacy agenda and build ownership for the next steps. This will include holding a press conference where the support from the first set of MPs for the issue of road safety would be shared with the media. The development of a handbook for victims' families, covering issues of treatment, rehabilitation and compensation, will be initiated. Several communication materials including short videos featuring messages from MPs as well as families, separately, will be developed in this quarter.
Q2 2015: This quarter will see the beginning of engagement of the two groups in the advocacy process. The MPs will be provided with data, information and questions to raise the issue in Parliament and families will be requested to petition the national leaders. Both actions will be carried out together to ensure a cohesive effort to influence the key decision makers. Stories of affected families will also be disseminated through mainstream and social media. Specific persons from both groups will be briefed and trained to become spokespersons on the issue and will be engaged in briefing media and participating in TV discussions. A key focus area of this quarter will also be to ensure continuous expansion of the two groups.
Q3 2015: The activities from Q2 will continue and focus will also be on expansion of the two groups. Key events will be identified such as the World First-Aid Day and the Global Road Safety Week to create events for getting the two groups to interact with each other and send out messages to the Government through media. A consultation meeting will also be held with media in the country to sensitize them to the issue and representatives from both groups will be involved in the meeting. A social media campaign will be launched with the communication materials created in Q1/15 to sensitize the masses to the issue and engage them in petitioning the government to strengthen road safety laws. This quarter will continue to see representations from the families to the policymakers.
Q4 2015: The media pressure, the social media campaign, representations and public petitions will continue and get enhanced in this quarter to maintain the pressure on government.
In the past decade, over 1 million people have been killed in road crashes in India and over 5 million have been left seriously injured or permanently disabled. In 2007, India surpassed China to lead the world in the number of road crash deaths annually and continues to maintain that lead with one road crash death every 4 minutes. While road crashes in India are attributed to be the leading cause of deaths in for people between the ages of 15 and 45, they also kill 20 children under the age of 14 every day. In addition to the severe emotional trauma that road crashes exert on hundreds of thousands of families each year, this issue causes an annual economic loss of 3% of India's GDP; an amount that could feed the country's poor twice over every year. If long-term, sustainable interventions are not carried out to prevent loss of lives and limbs on India's roads, over 6 million people are expected to be drastically affected by road crash deaths in the next decade.
The causes for India's exceptionally high number of crashes include: bad road-user behavior, flawed road design and engineering, poor enforcement of weak traffic laws, and lack of rapid trauma care. However, the most acute aspect of the problem is the lack of an overall framework under which road safety interventions can be made.
Not only does India need a strong national road safety law, but it also needs a robust enforcement mechanism which would bring together key actors responsible for road-user behavior, road design and engineering, enforcement of traffic laws, and rapid trauma care for injured persons.
Currently, the only governing Road Safety law in India is the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, which has proved ineffective in addressing any of the aforementioned issues and has not been updated in the past 13 years.