Indian Institute of Technology Madras’ (IIT Madras) Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS) launched a ‘Three-Step Training Process’ (3STP) at an event on ‘Capacity Building and Quality Standards for Driver Training – Factoring the Human in the Journey for Safe Roads’ at an event held in the campus on 31st July 2023.
This initiative is intended bridge the gap between the actual trainers in the Driver Training Institute and the School’s capacity and capability to obtain a better evaluation of the drivers’ knowledge, skill and practice.
The ‘3STP’ initiative aims to bring a lean methodology to audit, provide capacity building and rating of driver training institutes and schools to impart the required training to the drivers. This initiative by CoERS, shall bring a more organized structure among the driver training institutes and schools and introduce a wide span of vocation and employment of more skilled trainers.
Commending this IIT Madras initiative, Chief Guest Thiru Shankar Jiwal, IPS, Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu Police, said, “I must congratulate Prof. Venkatesh Balasubramanian and other stakeholders for going a great job on this report… We have been speaking about road safety for long. There have been empirical and statistical studies but there is a disconnect between the two. For last two years, there is a remarkable dip in number of accidents, almost around 11 per cent last year, and this year, almost 8 per cent. However, the ‘cause and effect’ remains an enigma for us. We would be glad if the academia, especially initiatives like CoERS, could unravel it for us.”
Thiru Shankar Jiwal added, “If the number of accidents goes down, it leads to a lot of positive outcomes, top of which is reduction in loss of lives and limb. There are hidden savings for GDP as well in terms of damage to vehicle and reduction in number of man-hours the police spend on paperwork, registering cases, appearing in the court, and so on. One accident reduces in lot of savings. Everybody looks forward to reduction in cases, especially fatal accidents.”
Further, Thiru Shankar Jiwal said, “However, shift of the concrete measures that can be taken to translate studies to the field is still not happening. We should have translated lot of these into the field.”
This initiative was flagged off by Shri Shankar Jiwal, IPS, Director General of Police, Tamil Nadu Police, and Prof. V. Kamakoti, Director, IIT Madras on 11th October 2022. In the same platform announcement of the ‘3 Gate Licensing System’ (3GL) that evaluates for driver’s knowledge in Gate 1, driving skill in various scenarios in a safe environment such as a simulator as Gate 2, and practice of skills in real world environment in Gate 3 was also made.
The 2016 MoRTH report on Road Accidents in India was the last report that mentioned driver error, accounting for about 84% of crashes in India. More than 4.12 lakh accidents have occurred in India as per the report ‘Road Accidents in India 2021’, published by MoRTH. The report highlighted that Human Error, inclusive of traffic violations, unlicenced driving and non-usage of helmets and seat belts, have contributed to over 80% of the total accidents.
Human factors significantly affect safety across various domains, including transportation. Understanding human capabilities, limitations and behaviour is crucial in designing any system. Among the multiple factors, driver error has been consistently reported as a significant contributor of road crashes.
At Centre of Excellence for Road Safety (CoERS), funded by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH), researchers have tried to provide experiential and sustained learning for impressionable future adults on best practices through an influencer who forms a large part of their engagement time with roads, i.e., drivers who commute with them to school and college.
Supported by the SNS Foundation and M/s HL Mando Anand India Limited, CoERS partnered with M/s Red Chariots Technologies Private Limited to provide simulator-based training for over 2,000 drivers from the Greater Chennai region. This Training of Influencer program is a step towards developing pedagogy to address gaps in driver training by using technology-enabled solutions.
Drivers were trained in safe driving concepts, hazard perception, and driving etiquette which will go a long way in having an impact on the minds of school and college-going children who will be drivers in the near future.