« Together for safer Roads in the State of Tamil Nadu, India”

  • The launching of this Road Safety Project took place on November 15th, 2019 in one of the 2 partnering schools, the Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School in Chennai.
  • In front of 300 children, the representatives of the local police and of the Ministry for education expressed their support to this initiative.
  • At the time of this ceremony, the children discovered the mascot of the project, for which they’ve been invited to give a name.
The guests at the launch of the project
The guests at the launch of the project

In India, Road traffic fatalities and injuries are a growing public health concern. According to the WHO, 300,000 people die each year in road accidents. About half of these deaths are among vulnerable road users - motorists, pedestrians and cyclists; other studies indicate that road accidents are the leading cause of death among children and young adults aged 5 to 29 years. Permanent disability due to a road accident is 2% and Estimated GDP loss due to road accidents is 3%. 

In India, the state of Tamil Nadu has one of the highest numbers of Road Crashes fatalities in the country (65,562 people died in Tamil Nadu in a single year (2017) from traffic crashes only). The city of Chennai, after Delhi, is the city with the second highest number of road crashes leading to fatalities and the first for crashes leading to severe injuries.

This the reason why Fondation PSA in partnership with HI and ATSWA decided to implement a program for children.

The first step of the project consists in implementing “safe school zone actions” around two schools. It includes installing traffic signage for speed limit, children crossing, speed brakers etc. The Madras Christian College Higher Secondary School and Anita Methodist Matriculation Higher Secondary School have been invited to participate in this project. 1,500 children and their 60 teachers will be beneficiaries and key actors of this program.

The second step of the project is a multimedia awareness campaign on road safety dedicated to teenagers and young adults. 200 000 teenagers and young adults will benefit from this information.

Location of participating schools
Location of participating schools

During the event, Mr.S. Muthuvel Pandi, Assistant Commissioner, Nungambakkam, Chennai, emphasized a lot on the danger associated with driving and riding without proper safety measure (wearing a helmet, seat belt…). He pointed out how road safety was a key priority for the Chennai police.

Mr. Vasu, Joint Director (NSS) DPI, Egmore, Chennai mentioned that books on road safety in Tamil and English languages shall be launched by the government soon. He emphasized on the fact that road safety was the responsibility of all, road users, pedestrians and the overall administration.

Mr. Augustine Justin, Senior Director, HR PCA Motors Pvt limited, sponsor of the project, explained that he was himself part of the Road Safety Patrol in his school in his childhood. He insisted that students should be part of Road Safety Programs in the school and take up the responsibility in making the roads safe.

Mr. Willy Bergogne, Regional Program Director, Handicap International, concluded by saying that the project and its philosophy are clearly reflected in the name of the project and particularly in the word “together”. Schools authorities, companies, NGOs, Ministries, children and their parents, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure safety on road. Only together we will be able to achieve it.

Unveiling of the project mascot
Unveiling of the project mascot

The main highlight of the project launch was the unveiling of the mascot by the Assistant Commissioner of Police and the Joint Director of (NSS). This Mascot is the symbol of this road safety program. The turtle sets an example for children by proudly wearing safety features as helmets and safety jacket. Through its friendly look, it will make it easier for children to take ownership of safety rules.