Mercedes-Benz ‘Safe Roads’, in its second year, travels to Kochi as part of the multi-city road show
Mercedes-Benz and its group companies Mercedes-Benz India (MBIL), Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV), Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) and Daimler Financial Services India (DFS) inaugurated Safe Roads – Kochi, as part of the multi-city awareness road-show that started in New Delhi in 2015.
Safety is a core competency and a core value for Mercedes-Benz and its automotive brands. Mercedes-Benz in particular, is renowned worldwide for developing highly sophisticated safety systems. However, implementation of effective safety systems remains a challenge, as the road users often do not comply with traffic rules or do not use the safety systems onboard their vehicles. On Indian roads, approximately 140,000 people die every year of road accidents, largely caused due to ignorance of safety norms and rules. ‘Safe Roads’ was hence conceptualized by Mercedes-Benz, in an effort to reduce this startling fatality rate on Indian roads, by creating more awareness on road safety. Mercedes-Benz is convinced that such initiatives can begin an era of road safety awareness that supports a new culture of road safety for Indians. Over 70 per cent of the fatalities can be reduced in the next ten years through education and enforcement of safety rules and by creating awareness.
This unique initiative was flagged off at Rajagiri College, Kochi by Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Sensor Functions and Pedestrian Protection, Mercedes-Benz Cars, in the presence of Mr. Manu Saale, MD & CEO, MBRDI.
‘Safe Roads’ is a road show that spreads the message of road safety through physical demonstration, visual aids and research reports. The physical demonstration will be undertaken with the use of exhibits that have been brought from Germany providing a real life experience of safety measures that can potentially save lives during road accidents.
The most popular exhibit remains the Belt-Slide which enables visitors to experience the impact of seat belts in a simulated crash environment at low speed. The aim is to increase the percentage of seat belts usage for front row passengers including driver.
New exhibits for this year are:
The Crashed Mercedes-Benz GLC: Visitors can witness an actual crashed vehicle. The passenger compartment of the GLC remained stable in the frontal offset barrier test. The car scored maximum points for its protection of the front passenger dummy, with good protection of all critical body areas. Dummy readings indicated good protection of the knees and femurs of both the driver and passenger. Also, GLC scored maximum points for its protection of the 1.5 year child dummy in the frontal offset tests (Source: EuroNCAP website)
The Mercedes-Benz PRE-SAFE® Seat system: Enables visitors to experience the PRE- SAFE® features of the Seat. Using a network of sensors, PRE-SAFE® system can detect certain conditions that suggest an accident is about to occur. The PRE-SAFE® seat system then pre-tensions the front seat belts, adjusts the front head restraints and passenger seat to better prepare the occupants for more effective results from the restraint systems.
An absolute highlight is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class S500. The S-class will be on display to showcase a glimpse of future of safety. The S-class illustrates trailblazing innovations in the field of active and passive safety.
Airbags will also be on display (driver and passenger airbags, curtain airbags, knee bags, etc.)
A ‘Body in White’ (BiW) passenger car exhibit highlights some of the core elements of a car structure which have high tensile strength that can absorb most of the energy during a crash and minimize passenger car intrusions.
Alcohol goggles provides a unique experience as wearing these special types of glasses simulates the common ‘walk-the-line’ activity which causes loss of balance and delayed reaction times. Visitors will feel their susceptibility to impairments and realize the potential severe consequences due to alcohol consumption.
As per Ministry of Road Transport & Highway, India (MORTH) 2015 report, India is a signatory to Brasilia Declaration and is committed to reduce the number of road accidents and fatalities by 50 per cent by 2020. However, with one of the highest motorization growth rate in the world accompanied by rapid expansion in road network and urbanization over the years, our country is faced with serious impacts on road safety levels. The total number of road accidents increased by 2.5 per cent from 4,89,400 in 2014 to 5,01,423 in 2015. The total number of persons killed in road accidents increased by 4.6 per cent from 1,39,671 in 2014 to 1,46,133 in 2015. Road accident injuries have also increased by 1.4 per cent from 4,93,474 in 2014 to 5,00,279 in 2015.
The severity of road accidents, measured in terms of number of persons killed per 100 accidents has increased from 28.5 in 2014 to 29.1 in 2015. The analysis of road accident data 2015 reveals that about 1,374 accidents and 400 deaths take place every day on Indian roads which further translates into 57 accidents and loss of 17 lives on an average every hour in our country. About 54.1 per cent of all persons killed in road accidents are in the 15 – 34 years age group during the year 2015.
During 2015, thirteen top states namely, Tamil Nadu (69,059), Maharashtra (63,805), Madhya Pradesh (54,947), Karnataka (44,011), Kerala (39,014), Uttar Pradesh (32,385), Andhra Pradesh (24,258), Rajasthan (24,072), Gujarat (23,183), Telangana (21,252), Chhattisgarh (14,446), West Bengal (13,208) and Haryana (11,174) together accounted for 86.7 per cent of all road accidents in the country.
Driver’s fault has been revealed as the single most responsible factor for road accidents, killings and injuries on all roads in the country over a long period of time. Driver’s fault accounted for 77.1 per cent of total road accidents during 2015 as against 78.8 per cent during 2014. Within the category of driver’s fault, road accidents caused and persons killed due to exceeding lawful speed/over speeding by drivers accounted for a share of 62.2 per cent (2,40,463 out of 3,86,481 accidents) and 61.0 per cent (64,633 out of 1,06,021 deaths) respectively.
Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Sensor Functions and Pedestrian Protection, Mercedes-Benz Cars said,
Safety is a core value for Mercedes-Benz. Therefore all our business units stress safety as a priority for the user as well as for the environment they are operating in. When we learned about the accident and fatality rates in India, we decided to develop the ‘Safe Roads’ CSR initiative. This is also in line with our spirit of good corporate citizenship – meaning that we like to contribute to the society we do business with. We hope that our initiative will kick-start an era of road safety awareness and will support a new culture of road safety among the people in India.
Manu Saale, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India added,
Technology, Innovation and Research go hand-in-hand in improving vehicle safety. With the Safe Roads initiative, we have brought in a new era of safety awareness keeping the Indian road scenario in focus, accidents and resulting fatalities can not only be greatly reduced through innovative technologies but also through responsible driver and passenger behavior. Mercedes- Benz has developed the state-of-the-art safety features that have proven to be effective. In MBRDI alone, there are over 100 engineers contributing to these technologies in active and passive safety of Mercedes-Benz vehicles with 54 patents filed on automotive safety. While there are some policy and regulatory hurdles that exist in order to apply them in India, we hope that the ‘Safe Roads’ initiative will enhance the road users’ awareness of such technologies and will help persuading the legislators to ease these norms for the greater good of society.
Following the event at Kochi, the Safe Roads initiative will travel to Hyderabad and Kolkata this year.