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Uber collaborates with MoRTH to launch road safety campaign

Ride hailing service provider, Uber India today joined hands with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) to launch a nationwide public campaign to spread awareness towards road safety. With its ‘Sadak Suraksha Sabki Raksha’ (Road Safety, Safety for Everyone) campaign, Uber aims to drive the message of importance of road safety among the general public. Wearing seatbelts in the back seat and not indulging in drunken driving are some of the key messages, which Uber wants to be effectively communicated to its users.

The company will be pushing MoRTH-co-branded advertisements focusing on these key pointers to its customers and driver partners through its mobile application, social media and through other channels as well. Apart from the campaign, the company will also be supporting the government to enhance the quality of curriculum at the government-run driver training institutions across the country. “We will start by supporting 200 such institutes and we will be providing technical learning aids, as well as help in revisiting the syllabus to improve the overall student learning at these centres. We would want that these institutes sanitize the drivers towards being more respectful to women riders and also inculcate strong focus on safer driving habits, for instance, placing both hands on the steering wheel while on the road,” said Pradeep Parameswaran, head, operations, Uber India and South Asia.

“We are not just focusing on the driver partners which are associated with the Uber platform, but, targeting this exercise to benefit everyone who is eventually going to take up driving as a profession”, he added. Speaking at the launch ceremony, Nitin Gadkari, Union minister for Road Transport and Highways, said, “India sees over 500,000 road accidents every year in the country, which culminate in close to 150,000 fatalities. Road safety is a prime concern for the government and we aim to better the current statistics by bringing a 50 percent reduction in road fatalities by 2019.”

“Without passing the blame on anyone else, I would say that it is the transport department which is at fault because there have been numerous glaring engineering flaws in road design, which are now being corrected. The onus lies on the MPs and MLAs of an area to bring the rectification in the road infrastructure and we are being open with public and asking them to bring up the mistakes and we will improve upon them. We are also converting a lot of high density state highways into national highways as well,” Gadkari added.

Uber to use telematics to enhance road safety Uber has been successful with a similar campaign towards the end of last year, where it stressed upon the dangers of drunk driving and saw close to 1.3 million riders taking late night rides between 8pm to 2am during the celebratory week until the New Year’s eve. Now, the company is going to leverage the power of telematics and aid safer driving by mapping a driver’s driving patterns.

The Uber application will generate a driver’s scorecard on the parameters of smooth acceleration and braking. It will also prompt an overspending alert as well as detect mobile phone movement during a trip and send a warning to the driver. According to Pradeep Parameswaran, “We had also introduced the feature of Real Time Driver ID verification on the mobile application last year, which has now been rolled out across the country and needs the driver to first match his or her credentials by using the front camera on the mobile phone, before starting every trip.”

According to Nitin Gadkari, “There is a shortage of about 22 lakh drivers in the country today. More and more drivers are taking up micro-entrepreneurship route with ride sharing services coming in. Companies should also focus on doing a vision check of the drivers.

About 40 percent of the drivers in the government fleet today suffer from cataract, many having it to the extent of complete blindness. We have taken strict measures to prevent such drivers giving fake certificates and getting the jobs and would urge cab aggregators to also perform such checks and get spectacles to the needy.” “While we have also introduced computer-based driving licence test, betterment in road engineering, driver training and increased strictness in rules and regulations will go a long way in improving road safety”, Gadkari added.

More and more e-taxis With an aim to consistently improve the state of public transport in the country, and also battle the tough challenge of pollution, the minister urged driver unions to contemplate getting electric cars for the new cars in their fleet. “Ethanol, Methanol, bio-diesel and electrics are our priority.

I urge the drivers to adopt such flex fuel options for new cars in the fleet. The transport ministry alone cannot bring total reform in the transportation sector, it is, however, collective effort which is required from the society and from transport unions to take the country towards a sustainable future”, he added. While apart from electrification, BS VI vehicles are also going to be low on emissions and Rs 90,000 crore is being spent by the petroleum ministry in revamp of the refineries. “Mathura and Panipat refineries are already all set to supply BS VI fuels way before the April 2020 deadline.

Moreover, in the Smart City pilot project in Nagpur, 200 e-taxis are already plying on the roads and there are about 20 charging stations.

We are planning to increase the number of charging stations to 60 this year and also looking to bring e-two-wheelers into the project for more sustainable and cost effective individual mobility,” Gadkari concluded.



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