The Conference on the theme of Status of Road Safety and Safe Mobility Initiatives in India, being held on 15-16 January 2015, is a culmination of the Road Safety Week 2015, which is observed annually by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways all over the country. It will take stock of the status of road safety and safe mobility initiatives in the country over the past few years. This exercise acquires greater urgency in view of the framework and the schedule laid down by the 'UN Decade of Action for Road Safety' for halving the number of road accidents, fatalities and injuries in the world by the year 2020. The Decade of Action has been accepted by the Government of India.
The growth and vibrancy of India's infrastructure programme is what inures India from global recessionary trends as was witnessed in the recent past. With a planned US$ 1 trillion equivalent investment in infrastructure in the 12th Five Year Plan, of which 35% was for the transport and road sector alone, the build-up of the sector has been impressive and is expected to further accelerate in the years ahead. Road Safety and related policies have also been changing in a major way and one would shortly see major changes through the Amendments of the Motor Vehicles Act through the Road Transport & Safety Bill 2014.
The growing road sector demand, the large and diverse road network across the country, both rural and urban, and the fast growth of vehicle ownership fuelled by economic growth has implications for road safety outcomes. Although the statistics generate a sense of optimism in view of the fact that vehicle-kilometer of road travel is increasing with expansion of the network of higher category of roads, which allow travel at higher speeds, these surely hide the glaring problem of road safety, and we cannot afford to rest on our laurels. The number of road fatalities in 2013 still hovered around 1.4 lakh, making India's record indeed dismal, although in effective terms there has been some improvement. We are half way through the UN Decade of Action but still have a long way to go. This calls for a very systematic Mission to be taken up for making a difference and to achieve the target.
It is time to take stock of our achievements and success, and the present Conference will deliberate on different topics related to the Status of Road Safety and Safe Mobility in the country and examine and make recommendations for The Way Forward. The Conference sub-themes would address the following issues:-
• Legal Initiatives for Road Safety
• Road Safety – Engineering Measures
• Education and Awareness
• In-vehicle Safety and Trauma Care
• Australian Road Safety Expertise Session - A dedicated session to be organized by Members of the Australian Trade Delegation, inter alia covering research, audit, capacity building and management.
The Conference would have a wide cross section of delegates representing all major stakeholders of the Road sector: Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, National Highways Authority of India, State Departments of Transport, State Public Works Departments, State Road Corporations, Civil Engineering Contractors, Consultants, Suppliers, Municipalities, Road Agencies/Authorities, Procurement Managers, Road and Bridge Builders and Maintenance Personnel, Road Building and Road Maintenance Companies, Road Safety Suppliers and Specialists, ITS and Communications Companies, Road Lighting and Signage Companies and Environment Experts etc. The diverse participation of so many experts, so intimately connected with road safety issues, would provide excellent business and networking opportunities with a platform to deliberate on state-of-the-art practices on various aspects of road safety.
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