Road safety is a public health emergency, endangering lives and livelihoods globally and is an issue that requires immediate attention. Both the ZFC model and the Good Samaritan Law provide the necessary framework for making roads safer
With approximately 1.5 million people losing their lives in India annually due to road crashes, the country tops the global list of road crash injuries and fatalities. To address these alarming statistics and ensure against such massive loss of lives and the subsequent tremendous socio-economic impact, non-profit SaveLIFE Foundation (SLF) has been working on road safety related issues in India and beyond, since 2008. One of the Foundation’s biggest achievements has been securing the Good Samaritan Law (GSL) which provides bystanders protection from legal and procedural hassles in the event that they step up to help road crash victims.
To tackle road crashes, most of which are predictable and hence preventable, SLF in 2016 introduced the Zero Fatality Corridor (ZFC) solution. This solution emerged from adapting and customising the Safe System Approach to Indian conditions and requirements. A Safe Systems Approach aims at creating an environment within which people can operate safely. Deployed first on the Mumbai Pune Expressway in 2016 and subsequently on Old Mumbai Pune Highway (National Highway 48) in 2018, the model has delivered a phenomenal reduction in fatal road crashes. By implementing solutions across Road Engineering, Police Enforcement, Trauma Care, and Community Engagement, the model has brought down fatal road crashes on the former by 52 per cent and the latter by 54 per cent.
The success of this model has encouraged other state governments such as Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Orissa as well as the Central government to adopt it for addressing road safety concerns in safety-sensitive stretches across India. Scalable and replicable, the ZFC model is capable of being deployed not just within India but also in similar contexts globally to cater to the nuanced and unique needs and realities of low- and middle-income countries.
At the recently concluded BW Businessworld Social Impact Awards, Piyush Tewari, Founder and CEO, SaveLIFE Foundation, said, “To solve any big problem at scale, it is essential to follow certain principles. These include speaking to victims to comprehend the challenges and chalking out a problem statement focusing on the issue to be tackled. Finding solutions that stretch beyond our lifetimes while embracing technology and using the Pull Communication aimed at behavioural modifications are some of the crucial requirements for engineering long-term change. Ultimately, it is important to practise patience as change takes time.”
Road safety is a public health emergency, endangering lives and livelihoods globally and is an issue that requires immediate attention. Both the ZFC model and the Good Samaritan Law provide the necessary framework for making roads safer, shared spaces for all types of road users, including the most vulnerable ones.