Underwriters Laboratories Joins India Vision Zero Program
Underwriters Laboratories, along with a diverse mix of stakeholders, including government officials, corporates and civil society, joined India Vision Zero: Towards Zero Traffic Deaths, a day-long summit in Delhi to discuss road safety reforms in India. The summit was jointly organized by Underwriters Laboratories, World Resources Institute (WRI) India, and Bloomberg Philanthropies Initiative for Global Road Safety. Discussions included the development of strategies to make public bus services safer, as well as the role of business in advancing road safety in Indian cities.
The event featured a panel discussion which included Vice President of Education and Outreach Cara Gizzi, and Vice President and Managing Director – South Asia Suresh Sugavanam, along with representatives from WRI India and the North Eastern Karnataka Road Transport Corporation (NEKRTC). Other attendees represented state and city transport authorities, businesses including Volvo, Toyota Kirloskar Motors, Bosch, and Shell and nonprofit organizations such as the NASSCOM Foundation.
Key takeaways from the summit included the following:
- Road crash investigations should transform from a regular crime investigation to a forensic method, both to scientifically evaluate the multiple causes of the crash and to assess the human behavioral science, especially of drivers and other road users involved in a crash.
- Crashes could be prevented by introducing workable solutions and rigorous crash data collection.
- A case study on Haryana Vision Zero programs led by NASSCOM Foundation in partnership with WRI and state government was elaborated.
- Corporate collaboration and corporate social responsibility (CSR) investment have a large role to play in improving road safety.
The summit successfully brought together stakeholders from multiple sectors to deliberate and highlight the larger need for bus safety reforms with the goal of having a direct, positive impact on road safety. The summit established that opportunities exist for stakeholders to expand upon their shared desire to bring about social change for a road safety culture in the country.
Driven by the mutual goal to explore multidimensional and workable road safety solutions, Underwriters Laboratories and WRI began their association in 2015. The partners focused on studying crashes involving public buses (which carry 70 million passengers daily), starting with two city bus agencies: BMTC (Karnataka) and BEST (Maharashtra). During 2015 and 2016, the partnership analyzed the crash data of these bus agencies and implemented solutions such as retrofitting standard-sized mirrors to improve visibility of drivers and upgrading the driver training program. The trainings have brought about behavioral changes among drivers and the mirror retrofits resulted in improved field of vision for bus drivers.