Road transport is the backbone of modern society and economy. It is fast, convenient, easily available and affordable. We all are dependent on road transport. It is difficult to imagine life without it.

Having said so, it is equally painful to note that the road transport which was number 9 killer in the year 1990 in the world, is expected to emerge number 3 killer by year 2020. As per data registered by the World Health organization, nearly 12 lakhs people are known to die each year in road accidents globally out of which more than 83,000 people are killed in India while roughly 5 times of this number (about 4 lakhs) are seriously injured in India. It means, we kill about 230 people and injure about 1100 every day on Indian roads. Out of this, about 25-30% are pedestrians, 15-20% children under 15 years of age. In India, the total cost of losses due to road accidents are in the range of Rs. 400- 500 crores a day. The estimated cost includes compensation, asset loss, time and energy spent on police, hospital and court cases etc. But can we measure these sufferings in terms of money ? What happens when a family looses a child or mother or a sole bread earner? For each death / seriously injured, it is estimated that roughly 5-7 family members are directly effected. Therefore, due to road accidents, nearly 25 lakhs people are additionally impacted in our country every year.

Although road transport safety is a worldwide problem but it is more severe in countries like ours. Developed countries have already put in strong systems in place.

Clearly, the current situation is unacceptable. We should no more loose our brothers and sisters in a problem which could be solved by all of us by proper awareness, attitude and

Fig: Road transport statistics

promoting positive driving behaviors. We need to improve our road safety management culture.

KEY ROAD SAFETY PROBLEMS

Driver Related

Driver training and testing
Few years ago, statistics indicated that more than one-third of the truck drivers either did not have normal vision or were colour blinded. Our experience based on eye tests done by us - so far indicates that the similar situation still persists. Our company assessment indicates that drivers available in the market and holding driving licenses are improperly trained. Most of them are not aware of the defensive driving techniques and dynamics of the moving vehicle.

Driver behaviour
Some people behave unsafely, and deliberately ignore safety rules. They think they are smart drivers and accidents would not happen to them. Many want to reach to their destinations too quickly under time pressure irrespective of road condition and traffic density
People take excessive risks in overtaking or tail gating. Every day, one can observe thousands of near miss incidents happening around and when it happens, it kills many innocent people also every day.

Over Speeding
Most of the vehicles and roads are designed for a particular speed. With increasing urbanisation, vehicle density on the roads has been increasing exponentially. In such circumstances, it is very difficult to stop a speeding vehicle without hitting someone. A 80 Km/hr speed means, one cannot stop the vehicle in less than 27 meter distance even with full brakes on. Problem is more severe with heavy vehicles.

Driver Errors
Overtaking at a wrong place, turning abruptly or stopping without prior signaling, which can cause collision with the vehicle following; driving fast through villages on road sides, exceeding the speed limit; falling asleep at the wheel, overturning due to going round a curve at excessive speed, driving while intoxicated etc.

Drugs / Alcohol consumption
Fatal accident rate is high particularly during night times. There are not enough instruments to spot, monitor and punish drivers on consumption of alcohol and drugs.

Impaired drivers: fatigue
Driving continuously without taking adequate rest results in driver sleeping on the wheels.

Too Many Young drivers
Statistics shows that the drivers younger than 21 years tend to drive too fast and too rash. Most of the accidents also happen to these very young age people.
Vehicle Related

Defects in vehicles
Many vehicles are not roadworthy. Effectiveness of Brakes, tyre condition, headlights, signaling and parking lights, loose electrical connections, handbrakes, lack of side and rear mirrors are some of the common defects widely seen. These may look minor defects but many major accidents have happened due to these defects.

Environment around the road
Error of drivers of other vehicles like bullock carts, tractor trolleys, cycles, rickshaw, joy walking, pedestrians, school children cattle or dogs etc. running onto roads being run over.

Roads Related Defects
Improper, inadequate road construction, potholes, Signal failures, lack of road signs etc.
Studies of accidents registered with the police indicate that the number of accidents due to this reason is around 10% of the total accidents. Even allowing for some errors in analysis of reasons for accidents, the figure will not exceed 20%.

Dangerous road locations

In each road, there are certain sections, where a number of accidents of the same type happen too often. To warn drivers, about these black spots, suitable road signs are required to be placed at regular intervals. It helps in driver's judgement.

Pedestrians

Lack of pedestrian walkways, overhead / underground crossings at busy roads, short cuts by pedestrians, drivers behaviour by not allowing pedestrians to cross first are some of the reasons.

Passenger protection (Rear seat belts, children)
In any accident situation, there are three types of impacts:

  • Primary impact: Head on vehicle collision impact due to momentum of both vehicles
  • Secondary impact: Passengers colliding with each other as a result of momentum and with loose flying luggage
  • Tertiary impact: Collision of internal organs.

In crash situations, seat belts hold the body from hitting the dashboard, front row or fellow passengers. Also it saves the Primary, secondary and tertiary impacts of the collision.

In developed countries, no one is allowed in the vehicle without a seat belt. There is a strong reason for that. Seat belts really save lives.

Poor Rescue systems (communications, First Aid, ambulances, hospital facilities)
As we all know, most of the fatalities occur due to absence of Basic and timely first aid care. Either people don't know the use of first aid or they don't apply it due to perceived complications with police and law. Also, there are delays in getting medical care.

Plan to Stop killing on our roads
If we are determined, we can stop killing on the roads. We all play a role whether it is government, Private sector, industry; Media press TV, citizens, parents, teachers, and every one. We all can do it by:

  • Making people, our children staff and contractors aware of rules. Reminding them too often about dangers of the road
  • Learning defensive driving techniques
  • By Encouragement and appreciation to good drivers
  • By strict enforcement of traffic rules
  • Sound design and maintenance of vehicles and roads
  • Evaluation/adjustment to road conditions

We feel industry particularly, has a major role to play in this regard. In Shell Hazira companies, we are determined to see that we contribute to our surroundings and the society positively by sharing our international experience on best safety practices whether at home or office or factory. We treat our staff and contractors equally as far as Road safety management is concerned.

Road Safety management- Sharing best practices

As per Shell HSE Management system, all incidents and nearmiss are reportable. Any incident happening to any company, contractor or sub-contractor or supplier who is travelling under company's influence or a third party injured by our contractor vehicle, will be reported and recorded as Shell Company's incident.

The company has empowered all its company and contractor staff to stop the work, if found unsafe. There is no need to take prior approval from higher ups to stop unsafe situation and acts.

Hazira companies transported about 1.7 million cubic meter of rock for construction of Hazira Port from a distance of 109 kms, a place called Chikli upto the project site at Hazira. The road from Hazira to Surat and upto to the Chikli is not in good condition and also remains quite busy. Company hired about 500 heavy transport trucks and dumpers, which traveled on an average more than 4.0 million kms a month for about 12 months continuously. In layman terms, every 20th day, we completed the return journey (to and fro) to the moon by the road.
This was achieved with reasonably good safety record as we planned our road movements with utmost care.

1) All our drivers are 21 yrs + age
2) A pre-Employment medical check of drivers is a must followed by in-house monthly medical checks including eye tests. Driver's fitness      is as essential as vehicle condition
3) It is mandatory for all drivers to attend "Safety Induction course" followed by 2 days "Defensive driving training course" followed by     1- hour test drive. If driver failed assessment driving test, then he is subjected to defensive training again. No driver is allowed without     passing the assessment test.
4) Company is also starting defensive driving training for the staff family members also who are driving.
5) Alcohol and drug tests are conducted randomly and drivers are counseled or removed.
6) Speed radars and monitors are fixed on the road to check and control drivers' behavior on the road.
7) Each vehicle is tested for fitness every month with sticker pasted on dashboard, showing next service due, followed by daily vehicle     checks.
8) Stringent conditions are applied on tyre thread depth, engine, suspension, breaks, lights condition etc. Any vehicle not meeting any of     our approx 21 fitness criterions is not allowed to ply until repaired.
9) Truck movement is always done in a convoy of 7 or 8 vehicles with one pilot car leading in the front and other pilot car following at the     end of the convoy. This helps in speed controls of the loaded trucks.
10) All non-routine Journeys need to be pre-planned with departure, rest and arrival time mentioned.
11) No driver is allowed to drive more than 12 hours a day, with 30 minutes compulsory rest after every 4 hours of driving.
12) Night driving (Between 21-00 to 06-00 hrs) is discouraged as the company feels it is very risky to drive loaded trucks during night        hours
13) Every driver is reminded of safety every day via toolbox
14) Nobody is allowed to board the vehicle without fastening seatbelt. No standing passengers allowed in buses.
15) Use of mobile phone is not allowed while driving. "Mobile on, Engine off" policy is being adopted.
16) Company rewards good drivers if they drive safely.
17) Company encourages installation of speed recorders / Limiters that gives a trend of driver's behavior.
18) No overloading is allowed. Proper tying of the load with vehicle is ensured.
19) Safer rescue and post crash care, by keeping ambulance and hospitals lined up in case of any accident to company or contractor        vehicle.
20) No loose items allowed in Driver / Passenger cabin
21) Safety triangle, Rear movement horn, drinking water, first aid box and fire extinguishers are compulsorily provided in all company and        contractor vehicles.

The company tries its best to improve driving habits and attitude of drivers and truck owners by counseling and advising them regularly. Its policy is not to compromise on Vehicle condition, driver fitness and Road safety standards under any pressure. Although Surat-Hazira road maintenance is not under company's control, but the 4 kms stretch from Essar junction to the Hazira project site is the best example to show the company's efforts to comply with the best practices on road maintenance.

Due to stringent enforcement of road safety standards, the company had to encounter a lot of resistance from vehicle owners initially. But later on everyone fell in line. The company had to pay additional costs to the truck owners for maintaining vehicles in good condition.
Due to company's very strict Road transport safety policy, monitoring and controls on road movements is always priority. The accident rate has been at par with the international norms and compares favorably with many Shell companies abroad. The vehicle impact accident rate (VIAR) that is measured as number of Lost time Injuries per 100 million kms traveled is only about 15.0 for Hazira project, which compares favorably with similar projects in other countries.

Conclusion
It is possible to reduce road accident rate and severity by adopting and enforcing proper measures. Industry has a role to educate staff, contractors, suppliers, students, Government departments and general public. This measure will definitely benefit the society and the industry, in turn will be benefited. Shell Hazira group of companies are determined to see that we implement international health, safety, environment and sustainable development standards in India and play active supporting role in promoting the same.

Annex-1 Road Accidents in India, 1970-2002 Data Relates to Calendar Year) [All Roads] (In thousands)
Year
Road Accidents
Persons Killed
Persons Injured
1
2
3
4
1970
114.1
14.5
70.1
1971
120.2
15.0
70.7
1972
122.3
16.1
76.4
1973
121.6
17.6
79.3
1974
114.3
17.3
76.7
1975
116.8
16.9
77.0
1976
124.7
17.8
82.5
1977
135.4
20.1
95.6
1978
146.3
21.8
99.5
1979
144.4
22.6
102.9
1980
153.2
24.6
109.1
1981
161.2
28.4

114.0

1982
166.2
30.7
126.0
1983
177.0
32.8
134.1
1984
195.0
35.1
156.2
1985
207.0
39.2
163.4
1986
215.5
40.0
176.4
1987
234.0
44.4
189.0
1988
246.7
46.6
214.8
1989
270.0
50.7
229.7
1990
282.6
54.1
244.1
1991
293.4
56.4
255.0
1992
260.3
57.2
267.2
1993
280.1
60.7
287.8
1994
320.4
64.0
311.5
1995
348.9
70.6
323.2
1996
371.2
74.6
369.5
1997
373.7
77.0
378.4
1998
385.0
79.9
390.7
1999
386.4
82.0
375.0
2000
391.4
78.9
399.3
2001
405.6
80.9
403.8
2002
402.2
82.7
404.8
(P)           : Provisional.
*              : Does not include data for Bihar, which is yet to be received.
Source    : Data received from States/UTs.

 

______________________________________________________________________________________________________________
 Bio-Data
Shri Devendra Upadhyay is working as head of Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) in Shell Hazira group of companies in India. He graduated as Chemical Engineer in 1981 from IIT, Roorkee with postgraduate diploma in Environment management.

Mr. Updhyay has total of 23 years of experience in Health, Safety and Environment departments of upstream and downstream hydrocarbon industry. He has worked with Indian Oil, Guwahati and Mathura Oil refineries as Health, Safety and Environment Manager for about 15 years before joining Petroleum Development Oman, a Shell JV comapny, as Senior HSE advisor in 1996. In Oman, he was responsible to implement various HSE standards, Permit to Work, Road Safety, HSE Cases and other initiatives in the oil and gas fields. Prior to joining Shell Hazira in July 2003, he has been actively involved in development and implementation of Helath, Safety and Environment Management integrated system in Oil, Gas and Refining industry in India and abroad.

Mr Upadhyay has implemented good number of initiatives on Road safety in Oman, which he intends to pursue in India also.

Presently, he is working with Hazira Port and LNG terminal team in capacity of HSE In charge.

 

 

Back to homepage