Citizen education and participation is crucial for road safety initiatives because it creates a sense of ownership and responsibility among the public. When each member of society is empowered in promoting and implementing road safety measures, they are more likely to follow traffic rules and assist fellow citizens in the event of an unfortunate event, thus sowing the seeds for real and lasting change.  

 Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) partnered with Project iRASTE (Intelligent Solutions for Road Safety through Technology & Engineering) – a multidisciplinary road safety initiative to kick-off holistic safety initiatives focused on driver participation and emergency care.     

All road safety initiatives are driven to success by the 4Es – Education, Enforcement, Engineering, and Emergency care.  

Project iRASTE has been working very closely with all major stakeholders towards creating safe roads, accident prevention and driver training and a crucial step in creating this culture of road safety is educating and equipping citizens to a greater awareness of road safety.  

A new vision towards driver empowerment  

The first safety intervention was targeted towards the heart of the driving community – commercial bus drivers. Working closely with the local NMC bus operators, Project iRASTE and NMC found an opportunity to effect immediate change. An eye camp was organized at each of the three NMC bus operator offices. Trained specialists conducted tests to examine and correct driver vision. Drivers must have a visual acuity of at least 0.5, with glasses and an adequate field of vision. The camp saw enthusiastic participation from NMC drivers, conductors, and managerial staff. Spectacles with powered lenses were also distributed to those who were prescribed its use. A total of 502 people benefited from the eye camp, which was held during Jan 16-21, 2023. 

Acting in the Golder hour – Training Citizen First Responders  

Golden Hour is the first hour following an accident and is the crucial period in increasing chances of survival for accident victims. This next initiative was aimed at mobilizing the local community to respond effectively and promptly in case of accidents and emergencies. Oftentimes, the public, local shop owners, and merchants are in proximity to road accidents. By empowering and training them correctly, they can prove to be vital assets and can even save lives. 

Project iRASTE and RoadMARC foundation conducted a first responder training at Chinch Bhavan on 18th Jan 2023 to help small shop owners and residents provide rapid emergency response to accident victims during the Golden Hour. The program was conducted by healthcare professionals and included hands-on training in first aid and techniques on how to carry the injured.  The residents were also briefed on other vital, life-saving information. 350 people participated in the event. 

Citizen education that empowers change 

This year, as a part of Road Safety Week, Project iRASTE launched a special social media campaign called “iRASTE Samvaad” –starting a conversation on Technology for Road Safety. The campaign is aimed at explaining safety technology for Indian conditions and to help evaluate the impact of technology adoption in road safety initiatives. 

As the adage goes – ‘Knowledge is power ‘– a little knowledge goes a long way. Using testimonials and data insights, iRASTE Samvaad hopes to become an effective platform that connects various stakeholders and creates a foundational step in the systematic adoption of technology initiatives for road safety, that everyone can learn from.  

These initiatives are just the start towards creating a culture of road safety and accident prevention that encompasses not only policy makers and government bodies but also different members of the local communities.  True and lasting transformation comes forth not just from organisational initiatives but is driven from the grassroots, by the community, for the betterment of its people.