Roads are amazing. They evoke emotions. To some they bring the joy of passing through beautiful landscapes, to some, the fun of being behind the wheel, while, to some, the excitement of experiencing new cultures up close. There is a smile that just sneaks up the moment you think of a road trip.
That of course is the pretty picture we all associate roads with. Sadly, for this beautiful picture of freedom and happiness, there is a rather disturbing flipside that most of us have seen. An abandoned, disfigured car lying by the side of a highway, shattered glass scattered across the road, a broken helmet lying on the hard shoulder, just some of the gloomy visuals we may have seen while on the road. We see something like this, maybe briefly lose the smile from our faces, hope the occupants managed to escape unhurt, say a prayer or two, and carry on.
There are close to 5,00,000 accidents on Indian roads, leading to almost 1,50,000 fatalities, every year. That is close to 14 lives lost to road accidents, every hour! And as more and more vehicles are added on the road, this number has shown an upward trend in the past few years.
But it can’t carry on like this! It can’t be right that with just two percent of total vehicles in the world, we account for close to 10 percent of the road accident related deaths. This is an epidemic which requires all the help we can get to deal with. There shouldn’t be fear involved with planning a long drive with your buddies. A motorcyclist shouldn’t be scared for their life every time they step out. It has been this way for far too long. And of course, the governing bodies have the largest role to play in addressing this, but certainly we can do a bit as well? And this was exactly the thought that led us to Intents Mobi.
We are just a bunch of people driven towards the same cause of road safety. Almost all of us enjoy heading out on the road, on two wheels or four, for new places, new landscapes, new food or maybe just for beautiful stretches of roads. Yet, there is always that lingering thought about road safety, whether on city roads or wide open highways. So together, we are exploring ways to make the roads safer than they currently are.
There are three key potential action areas, Skill, Education and Infrastructure, that will make the roads safer for everyone. ‘Skill’ for driving or riding enables one to operate a vehicle safely on the road, ‘Education’ about the best practices and rules enables one to act in a specified, standard method ensuring coherence. Infrastructure like good roads and quality vehicles is important for the other two to be effective.
Of this, education is something where we all can make a difference with very little effort. You can be the driver of change, the voice guiding the society towards safer roads. Make it a point to motivate your friends and family to follow all the traffic rules, highlight the consequences of irresponsible driving, inform them about safe driving practices, help them choose safer vehicles and do anything else that you think would keep them safe on the road. For the infrastructure issues, use your social channels to highlight unsafe road stretches, unlit crossroads, poor sidewalks and more to your local authorities. We need to raise enough voices to be heard.
And while we can’t go out fixing broken roads and removing horrible speed breakers, we are trying to do our small bit about it as well. In order to achieve that, we made the Intents Driver App. The app uses the movement of our phones while driving to identify speed breakers, potholes and other issues with the roads. And as a reward for contributing to this via the app, you receive cash rewards for every kilometre you drive with the Intents Driver App running. Of course we understand how important your privacy is to you so it goes without saying that we only record data about road conditions and absolutely no personal bits. This data not only allows us to alert users about bad patches, potholes and poor speed breakers as they approach them, giving them time to react, but also to create road condition heat-maps for use by organisations that are responsible for upkeep and maintenance of roads.
This is just one of the many steps on our long road to safer roads and it felt like the logical start point. We will keep building upon this to create more tools to aid road safety, hopefully making significant impact and saving valuable lives along the way. And we hope to have you as a member of our community in this journey. So come, join the #DriveForSaferRoads with us.
You can download the Intents app to contribute towards safer roads and earn cash rewards for driving here.