Safety – one kilometre at a time

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Transport Corporation of India (TCI Group) was awarded the James Tye award for its brave and imaginative initiative to raise awareness of road safety in India. Safety Management finds out more about the project.

Road safety is a huge issue in India. Each year, around 150,000 people lose their lives on roads, and over four million are injured. What’s more, drivers often lack access to proper sanitation facilities, and sleep inside their trucks – many drivers will sleep for just two to three hours while on road for the fear of getting robbed.

As India’s largest integrated logistics services provider, Transport Corporation of India (TCI Group) wanted to improve the picture. Mr. Rajkiran Kanagala, group head – business development of TCI, said: “We believe that road safety is a shared responsibility and thus seek support to spread the word and make India’s roads safer, one kilometre at a time.”

TCI Safe Safar

The project ‘TCI Safe Safar’ is based on street theatre (nukkad natak). In Urdu, ‘safar’ means ‘journey’. The objective of the initiative was to prompt drivers and communities to take an interest in road safety, addressing risks such as overloading of vehicles and speeding, which are some of the main causes of road accidents in the country.

The project ‘TCI Safe Safar’ is based on street theatreThe project ‘TCI Safe Safar’ is based on street theatre

The main attraction of the programme is a specially built, environmentally friendly truck that runs on compressed natural gas (CNG). The vehicle has travelled through western and northern India. A second truck has since been added to the fleet, journeying around southern and eastern India.

On the road

The two vehicles highlight the importance of health and road safety through street theatre performances, as well as quizzes and distribution of posters.

Events are attended by dignitaries, industry and safety stakeholders, who also speak on the significance of road safety and health. Audiences are urged to take the ‘safety pledge’ to uphold road safety.

The structure of the programme is such that the message can be delivered within a short time in an entertaining manner and can be replicated in different languages through the medium of ‘nukkad nataks’, quizzes, posters and videos.

TCI Safe Safar aims to reach around 50,000 truck drivers and cover 25,000 kilometres. So far, over 15,000 truck drivers have pledged to uphold road safety, and trucks have toured eight states in India and conducted more than 130 events.

Challenges in an uncertain world

Coronavirus has interrupted normal ways of working for every industry across the world. During the early stages of the pandemic in India, the logistics market, like any other industry, came almost to a standstill.

Even with the current pandemic situation, safety and sustainability remain critical business drivers for the industry – especially given the urgency of environmental challenge.

Events are attended by dignitaries, industry and safety stakeholders. Photograph: TCI GroupEvents are attended by dignitaries, industry and safety stakeholders. Photograph: TCI Group

TCI Group believes that all accidents and injuries at the workplace can be avoided with adequate safety and compliance measures. Safety and health improvement is an individual
and team responsibility.

The company also regularly invests in its people and facilities, and conducts training programmes and health and safety camps from time-to-time.

Celebrating success

Mr Kanagala said: “We are honoured and grateful that our initiative has won the James Tye award from the British Safety Council for the International Safety Awards 2020.

“Road safety currently remains widely seen as a national issue, but it has genuinely become a global challenge. Thus there is a need for the international community to mobilise more purposefully.

“With these International Safety Awards, we are delighted that road safety has been given the place it deserves on the international agenda. The award is a testimony to the endless hard work and dedication the team has put into making ‘TCI Safe Safar’ a success.”

Road safety in India – the facts

  • Road accidents are the leading cause of death among men aged 15–39
  • Men account for 25.7 deaths per 100,000, compared to women, who make up 8.5 deaths per 100,000
  • Motorcyclist road injury death rate is 69 per cent higher in India compared to the global average
  • The number of deaths due to road injuries in India increased by 58 per cent from 1990 to 2017
  • A substantial proportion of these deaths due to road injuries are likely to occur during commuting to and from work.


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