Indian ride-hailing company Ola, has set up a Safety Council with an aim to further strengthen the mobility safety ecosystem in the country. This council will bring together organisations and individual achievers from various sectors.  This includes stakeholders working in areas such as urban transport, climate change, women’s safety, security management, traffic management and emergency management services.

The development came at a time when Ola has already revealed its plans to add a fleet of 1 Mn EVs on the Indian roads by 2021.

Aligned on the vision to create a safe, inclusive and sustainable mobility by building and maintaining the safety of the mobility ecosystem, Ola Safety Council will bring together the knowledge of the members, data, technology and local networks and will focus on areas that will make the greatest impact.

Speaking on the formation of Safety Council, Nitesh Prakash, Senior Director, Operations at Ola said, Ola as a safety first organisation, is proud to partner with eminent experts who have done exceptional work in public safety. The intent is to galvanise public-private partnerships through a multi-stakeholder approach, bringing in measurable impact.”

Some of the highlights of the Safety Council are:

  • To act as a catalyst towards supporting the Government’s agenda to halve the road deaths and injuries by 2020
  • To lend support to three key targets by 2020 i.e. eye check-ups, gender sensitisation training, targeted at 1 Mn driver partners
  • In addition, first responder training certification for 1 Lakh driver partners

Dr. Ranjana Kumari, Director – Centre for Social Research, a member organisation of the Council, further shared that Ola is also going to undertake a large-scale initiative for training the 10 Lakh+ drivers and integrate ‘Gender Equity for Gender Transformation’ as their core value.

The council will also work alongside policy makers, state transport authorities, traffic police departments and other relevant stakeholders to create solutions that enhance ride and road safety on Ola as well as the ecosystem at large.

As highlighted by Amar Srivastava, Founder and President, Solve, and Ola’s Safety Council Member, the socio-economic consequences of road accidents are an estimated $58 Bn, a 3% of India’s GDP. Not to mention the rehabilitation costs and the emotional toll this takes on the society.

“The council is currently working on a series of concrete measures that we plan to announce in the coming year and Solve’s Road Safety arm, Indian Road Safety Campaign (IRSC), is looking forward to partnering with Ola on these measures,” he added

The safety council will adopt a multi-functional approach work along the five pillars. These include:

  • Strengthened road safety management capacities
  • Improved safety of road infrastructure and broader transport networks
  • Enhanced safety of vehicles
  • Improved behaviour of road users
  • Improved post-crash care

These pillars have been adopted from the ‘United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety’.

Each year, over 1.5 Lakh people are killed and 5 Lakh injured on Indian roads, this is the highest number of casualties recorded in the world. The commitment was made as a part of the Brasilia declaration, adopted at the second global high-level conference on road safety held in Brazil 2015 by 2,200 delegates.  The Brasilia Declaration encourages WHO and partners to facilitate the development of targets to reduce road traffic crashes and fatalities, and support the definition and use of indicators linked to the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) targets related to road safety.

This is not the first time Ola has taken an initiative to spread awareness around road safety.

Just last year, as a part of its Road Safety Week, Ola in association with Traffic Department Indore had organised a ‘Road Safety’ cab March on January 15. Several Ola cabs branded with safety posters and traffic awareness slogans started the march from Police Headquarters in Shastri Bridge and covered some of the major parts of the city.

Ola had also spearheaded #Peekematchala partnering with AIB to discourage people from drunken driving. The company has also partnered with Apollo Hospitals to create a comprehensive medical programme for its driver-partners which was aimed at equipping the drivers to provide medical assistance in case of on-road emergencies.

 A similar initiative was taken up last year in January by Ola’s rival Uber in its attempt to make roads safer in India. Uber had rolled out a series of features on its app to aid its driver-partners in maintaining road safety. The features were rolled out across 29 cities in India.

Given the concern raised by world over for the accidents on the road amounting to deaths, governments across nations are endeavouring to make reforms in road and travel policies to enable safe commuting and ensure a robust mobility in the countries. With an experienced mobility expert like Ola who knows the Indian roads, it can be said that the Safety Council is an encouraging move, a wave rather which will hopefully create ripple awareness amongst people.

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