Cab aggregator Uber announced a slew of initiatives for its driver partners to spread road safety awareness on account of the 29th National Road Safety Week. Validating its commitment to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, the company will conduct free medical and eye check-ups for more than 4.5 lakh driver partners over the next six months in resonation with this year’s theme, ‘Sadak Suraksha – Jeevan Raksha’.
In this context, Nitin Gadkari, Minister for Road Transport and Highways said,
"Ensuring road safety is a key priority for the government and we are committed to reducing fatal road accidents by 50 percent by 2020. The endeavour to make our roads safer has to be a collaborative multi-pronged initiative that needs joint action from policymakers, civic authorities, companies such as Uber and commuters in general."
Pradeep Parameswaran, Head of Operations, Uber India and South Asia said in a press statement that by rolling out free medical check-ups for driver partners, the company hopes to strengthen existing efforts towards improving driver well-being.
"Safety is an on-going endeavour and we work tirelessly towards that goal. We are proud to be a part of the Ministry’s effort to curb road accidents and fatalities on Indian roads which constitutes to nearly five million annually. Taking our collaboration a step ahead, we aim to create a comprehensive safety ecosystem for our driver partners. We believe improving driver wellness and health is critical to making our roads safer as well as ensuring a comfortable driving experience."
According to the press statement from Uber, India accounts for 12.5 percent of global road accidents, with 55 accidents and 17 deaths occurring every hour. In 2016 alone, 68 percent victims of road mishaps were in the age group of 18 to 45 years, and almost 97 percent of the road accidents are caused by negligent driving, including drunken driving.
Consistent with its partnership with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, Uber also unveiled a public interest campaign on ‘Don’t Drink and Drive’. Ola has also had a drink and drive campaign.
Another initiative by Uber to raise road safety awareness is the development of learning aids on road safety for budding drivers enrolled in driving schools, including Driver Training Institutes run by the government. With these learning aids, Uber hopes to sensitise drivers operating across four-wheelers, two-wheelers and auto rickshaws in over 200 driving schools across the country.
On Wednesday, Ola announced it had started a 'Safety Council'. The homegrown ride-hailing app stated that this council would act as a catalyst that supports the government agenda to cut road accident deaths by half by 2020.
Both Ola and Uber say it is important to ensure that there are different ways to enable road safety.