All for Road Safety

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I am on a mission these days. It is for an important cause. Yes, you do not have to guess. For a Safer Road and safe travel and safe return daily to our homes!.

I am not exaggerating. Every second day, I am seeing an obituary note on the Facebook or Whatsapp groups I am subscribed to, informing of death due to road accidents. Many of them are young and the accidents have happened due to speeding. That is a self made disaster to self and family. On the other hand, I also get to read about many innocent lives being lost due to rash driving by some other people. Whether it be on bike or car or bus or trucks. There has to be some control, SELF CONTROL to prevail on our roads to reduce these deaths and injuries.

The above are photos of adverts created by me and installed on a busy road where my home is situated. I hope, at least a few understand the value of it and reduce their driving or riding habits and bring back sense and security on our roads.

These adverts alert road users on road safety guidelines like wearing of helmets, seat belts, avoid using mobile phones, and of course no driving under the influence of alcohol or any medication.

More efforts, combined with several groups and individuals to follow to make this happen. Till then, no rest.

If you agree with me and see the need for an increased campaign and alertness along with daily reminders on road safety, welcome to share this post.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

11th February 2019


#OurIrinjalakuda unites for a Safer Roads initiative #AlertTodayAliveTomorrow

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#OurIrinjalakuda unites for a Safer Roads initiative #AlertTodayAliveTomorrow

A recent spate of increase in road accidents, mostly due to speeding buses have urged a prominent Facebook Group “Our Irinjalakuda” to conduct a relay fast until the municipality, the police and RTO joint together and come out with measures to control the speedsters who violate road safety rules. This is happening at Irinjalakuda in Thrissur District, Kerala. Today is the second day of the fast and Prof. Dr. Sr. Rose Anto, from St Joseph College is carrying have joined the volunteers and fasting. A kidney donor, she is in the forefront of all community activities beneficial to the society.

The group of volunteers are planning to continue their relay fast until the municipality authorities come out with efficient town planning and better facilities and also safer route structuring and one-way system for bus services to reduce road accidents. In addition, the volunteers are also conducting road safety campaigns by distributing safety guidelines and notices to road users.

In this video message in Malayalam, I share my own experiences and notes as a road safety campaigner. In brief, through this message, I request school authorities to take up road safety education as a routine subject and make students as “Road Safety Ambassadors”.  Dedicated Safety information sessions in their morning assembly aided with support from parents and teachers will bring about a positive change in children to consider safety, in particular road safety, an important part of their attitude and culture.



Always Wear Seat Belt

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Road Safety - seat belts - 2Several friends and family are visiting us these days to offer condolences on the demise of our father T Sachidanandan on Thursday, 17th August 2017.

Padmashree Peruvanam Kuttan Marar was one among them. He has a special place in my life as he was my mother’s colleague at CNN Boys High School, Cherpu, Thrissur District, Kerala. Long association with him and his family since my childhood made us always feel him as part of our own family.

He was leaving my home after spending time with us, particularly my mother and as his car started moving, I noticed something amiss. I asked the driver to stop the car and told them about the importance of road safety and in particular the advantage of wearing seat belts by all passengers. Immediately, he obliged and wore the seat belt and continued his journey with his pleasant smile.

That was the action by a very senior artist, a Padmashree award winner, a legend, a guru for many and someone who has thousands and thousands of fan following and the whole of Thrissur and musical world reverberate listening to the greatest percussion symphony in earth for Thrissur Pooram.

It is very important to follow road safety attitude of  people like him and their commitment when it comes to Road Safety. Wherever and whenever possible, all passengers should wear the Seat Belts. The roads are busier than ever, the vehicles are faster than ever and patience limit by the road users deteriorating day by day!.

Road Safety is not an individual’s responsibility. It is the responsibility of all. As a road user we do not know the mindset of other drivers who are on the road at the same time. As do their, vehicle condition or driving skills.

Always remember to #StartEarlyDriveCarefullyReachSafely.

Issued as a memorial tribute to my father, T Sachidananda Menon.

Road Safety is Everyone’s Responsibility – Time for MP’s to act

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The latest article in the website thelogicalindian.com is of contemporary importance.

This Monsoon Session, MPs Have An Opportunity To Seriously Ensure Road Safety In India

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988’s amendment needs to be passed by the Rajya Sabha immediately.

One of the main reasons for escalating bloodshed on Indian roads is the existing legislation governing road safety in India: the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988. This legislation has largely failed to ensure safety in transit for Indians, more specifically for the vulnerable road users. As the current law lacks a comprehensive and administrative framework for road safety, all efforts to contain soaring road crash fatalities have remained unsustainable so far.

On August 9, 2016, the Government of India introduced the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (MVAB) to fill the legislative gaps that keep Indians from being safe on the roads. This Bill was unanimously passed by Lok Sabha on April 10, 2016 and now awaits passage in the Rajya Sabha.

The Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 can be read here.

The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016 (MVAB) can be read here.

Features of MVAB

On 31 March 2017, the Cabinet approved amendments to the Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

The amendments are stringent on several fronts, to ensure further safety for the citizens. Some of the new provisions prescribed in the bill are 100% e-governance, checking for fake driving licenses and vehicle thefts, and heavy fines for traffic violators.

The penalty for drunk driving has been increased five times to Rs 10,000. Further, the driver can be booked for a non-bailable offence with imprisonment of up to 10 years, if such a (drunk) driving leads to the death of another person.

These changes in the Act demonstrate that the Ministry of Road Transport has sought “appropriate action” from the Ministry of Home Affairs to hold such drivers liable for culpable homicide under Section 299 of the Indian Penal Code, which states: “Whoever causes death by doing an act with the intention of causing death, or with the intention of causing such bodily injury as is likely to cause death, or with the knowledge that he is likely by such act to cause death, commits the offence of culpable homicide.”

Moreover, in the case of accidents, drivers will not be booked under the provisions of negligence but their action will be considered as a premeditated commitment of the crime, which will be punishable under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, depending on the consequences of the accident.

As reported by Hindustan Times, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the amendments are an effort to eliminate corruption in the sector. “No bogus driving licenses would be made and there would be no theft of the vehicles once there is e-governance,” the minister said.

Various other highlights in the amended Act include the following:

  1. A fine has been set for driving by a minor. The registration of the vehicle will be canceled for car owners who are found guilty of handing over vehicles to juveniles. Further, in the case of an accident caused by the juvenile, his/her family will be fined up to Rs 25,000, with or without imprisonment of up to three years.
  2. The amendments also include the provision of protective headgear for children above the age of 4 years, while riding a two-wheeler with a check on the quality and standard of the headgear.
  3. A fine of Rs. 1,000 will be imposed on drivers for not wearing a helmet while driving, in addition to the cancellation of licence for three months. The same penalty applies for jumping a red light or not securing the seat belt while driving.
  4. The penalty for talking on the mobile phone while driving has been increased to Rs 5,000, which was previously Rs 1,000.
  5. The compensation to victims of road accidents under No-Fault Liability has been increased to Rs 10 lakh (previously Rs 50,000) in the case of death, and Rs 5 lakh (previously Rs 25,000) in the case of grievous hurt. This removes the authority of the Central Government to determine the compensation.
  6. For hit-and-run accident cases, the compensation to the victims will be Rs 2 lakh in case of death, and Rs 50,000 for injury. Additionally, a Motor Vehicle Accident Fund will be set to provide compulsory insurance cover to all road users in India for certain types of accidents.
  7. The Ministry has further agreed to remove the cap on third party liability of insurance firms, as per the recommendations of the Parliamentary Standing Committee. The initial proposal included a cap on the insurers’ liability to a maximum compensation payment of Rs 10 lakh for death and Rs 5 lakh for injury.
  8. Furthermore, a penalty of ₹10,000 has been introduced for ‘not providing way for emergency vehicles’.
  9. In order to smoothen the process of registration and licensing, the bill proposes to create a National Register for Driving Licence and a National Register for Vehicle registration through “Vahan” and “Sarathi” platforms.
  10. A maximum time limit of six months has been specified for an application of compensation to the Claims Tribunal with regard to road accidents.
  11. The bill provides for a National Road Safety Board to be developed by the Central Government through a notification. The board would offer advice to the Central and State Governments on all aspects of road safety and traffic management.
  12. It grants the State Governments power to specify a multiplier, not less than one and not greater than ten, to be applied to each fine under this Act and such modified fine.
  13. For faulty design, construction or poor maintenance of roads leading to accidents, the contractors, consultants and civic agencies will be held accountable.
  14. Alterations in vehicles have also been provided to enable them more suitable for differently-abled people.

The amended Act has provisioned the facilitation of services for delivery to citizens and transporters. The issue of driving licenses, including learner’s licence and vehicle registration, has been linked to Aadhaar. The vehicle registration has further been linked to authorised automobile dealers.

The Centre will also set up a National Register for vehicles and driving licenses that will issue a unique registration number to prevent duplication with added security measures to avoid malpractices. The Act also empowers the Centre to recall vehicles whose components or engines do not meet required standards, with the manufacturer receiving a penalty of up to Rs. 500-crore.

The Logical Indian take:

The Logical Indian encourages all citizens to abide by the various traffic rules laid down by the government in an effort to improve safety and security in the country.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), comprehensive legislation which incorporates strict, appropriate penalties, backed by consistent, sustained enforcement and public education, has been proven to be a strong catalyst for changing behavior, norms and public perception about road safety.

MVAB does exactly that by providing for stricter rationalized penalties, accountability of road concessionaires and engineers for faulty road design, child safety, safeguards for vulnerable road users, uniform licensing and much more reformative provisions which shall strengthen road safety in India.

Road safety activists representing scores of affected families from across the country have launched the “Road Safety at Risk” campaign. The campaign website, www.roadsafetyatrisk.in, allows citizens to send a letter to the MPs requesting them to ensure smooth passage of the Bill.
Hopefully, the voices of Indian masses will reach the Rajya Sabha MPs and they will act for millions whose lives are imperiled every day on Indian roads.

Click here to join the campaign by SaveLIFE Foundation in association with The Logical Indian and send a letter to our Rajya Sabha MPs for a stronger road safety law.

Thank you to thelogicalindian.com to coming out with this article. It is very important. Road Safety is everyone’s responsibility. Not only MP’s. But, now is the time for them to act and make a change happen. Road Safety awareness and education is not a small task and cannot be instilled within a day or two or week or month or even a year. It needs constant reminders. 

Always keep in mind #StartEarlyDriveCarefullyReachSafely.

Source and inspiration for this blog post: http://www.logicalindian.com

Example of trust and safety through Elephants and mahouts

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See the trust and confidence shown here. A mahout taking the elephant back after a temple festival. Attitude and Respectforeachother is also another element. Thought of adding my safety campaign to it too. #StartEarlyDriveCarefullyReachSafely.

The way to go for Ambulances in Kerala!

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Road safety is always an important element in my life. I try and take care at all times, how I can be safe on the road, keeping in mind of the other fellow drivers and pedestrians safety too.

These days, whenever in Kerala, I have long drives, and thought of changing my car tires as they are reaching the stipulated mileage they are intended to run on normal roads. With that in mind, I went to one of the best shops available in my small town, and as they went on with the work, I watched the traffic that was happening at the evening hours in my town.

It was a weekend, a busy evening and continuous flow of vehicles on the road. I got around 30 minutes to be there and within that time, I happened to see 3 ambulances whizzing past my location.

All of them were being driven super fast, and suddenly my thought went deep inside the vehicles of the patients who are being transported and their condition and state of mind, if they are conscious!!!!.

After two ambulances crossed my location, I thought of recording the third one, as felt, these vehicles are being driven dangerously, ignoring all road safety rules. I felt, whether these drivers ever got any road safety driving training in their life.

I did not hesitate to try and capture the third ambulance as I noticed it coming and posted my comments to one of the active social media groups within my town asking for comments and probable ways of how things can be improved?

The suggestions varied from lack of facilities, narrow roads, no training or guidelines for these drivers.

I wonder whether Kerala State transport authorities along with Police and Hospital regulators consider this post as a plea to improve road safety training to the drivers who sit behind the wheels of these poorly maintained vehicles, called or so called as ambulances to save life.

A curious check with the onlookers in the area provided me with the fact that accidents involving ambulances are common these days and some of them are fatal.

Later on comments received from the social media concurred with the view that these ambulance drivers are never given any training and need for the hour is to make them understand to drive safely within the traffic conditions. A reader even commented that he escaped from being hit by this ambulance at a junction few distance away from the spot where I was staying!!

Road safety is very important and it is the duty of every individual on the road to make sure that the road is safer for transportation for the others who are there at that given point of time.

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

Here is my post in malayalam:

30 മിനിറ്റ് സൈന്റ്റ് ജോസഫ് കോളേജിന് മുന്നിലുള്ള ടയർ റിപ്പർ കടയിൽ ഉണ്ടായിരുന്നു. ആ സമയത്തിനുള്ളിൽ 3 ആംബുലൻസ് അങ്ങോട്ടും ഇങ്ങോട്ടും പോയി.
അവരുടെ സ്പീഡും പോക്കും കണ്ടമ്പോൾ അത് ഓടിക്കുന്നവരുടെയും അതിൽ കിടക്കുന്ന രോഗികളുടെയും കാര്യം ഓർത്തു പോയി. കൂടെ മറ്റു ജീവനക്കാർ ഉണ്ടോ എന്നറിയില്ല.
ജഗതി ഏതോ പടത്തിൽ പറഞ്ഞ പോലെ ആ നിലവിളി ശബ്ദം ഒന്ന് ഇട്ടു വേഗം ഓടിക്കൂ എന്ന വാക്കുകൾ ഓർമ്മ വരുന്നു.
ആ പറഞ്ഞ ജഗതിയും, ഇപ്പോഴത്തെ ഈ ട്രാഫിക്കിൽ ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു വണ്ടിയിൽ അവസ്ഥയിൽ പോകേണ്ടി വന്നാൽ, ഒരു പക്ഷെ ദയവായി അതൊന്നു നിർത്തി, എന്നെ ഒന്ന് ഇതിൽ നിന്ന് ഇറക്കി തരുമോ എന്ന് പറയുമായിരിക്കും. 

അതിന്റെ പിന്നിൽ പാഞ്ഞു പോകുന്ന ഒന്നു രണ്ടു ബൈക്ക് യാത്രക്കാരെയും കണ്ടു. രണ്ടു പേർക്കും ഹെല്മെറ്റില്ല?!

ആംബുലൻസ് വണ്ടികളുടെ സുരക്ഷയും (വേഗത, വാഹനത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടീഷൻ, ഡ്രൈവറുടെ കഴിവ്) എല്ലാം ഒരു പക്ഷെ പ്രത്യേകം ശ്രദ്ധിക്കേണ്ട കാലം അതിക്രമിച്ചിരിക്കുന്നു.

1. നമ്മുടെ ഗ്രൂപ്പിൽ എത്ര പേർക്ക് ഇങ്ങനെ ഒരു അവസ്ഥയിൽ യാത്ര ചെയ്യേണ്ടി വന്നിട്ടുണ്ട്?
2 എത്ര പേര് ഇങ്ങനെയുള്ള വാഹനങ്ങളിൽ ജോലി ചെയ്‌യുന്നു ?
3. എന്താണ് റോഡ് സുരക്ഷക്കുള്ള നിങ്ങളുടെ നിർദേശങ്ങൾ ?

നമ്മുടെ ഇരിഞ്ഞാലക്കുട മെംബേർസ് എത്ര പേര് റോഡ് സുരക്ഷ ഒരു പ്രധാന കാര്യം ആണ്, അതിന് വേണ്ടി ഒത്തൊരുമിച്ചു പ്രവർത്തിക്കാൻ തയാറാണ്?

നിലവിളി ശബ്ദം ഇട്ടു ട്രാഫിക്കിൽ പതുക്കെ പോകണം എന്നല്ല, ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചു പോകണം എന്നാണു. ആ വാഹനത്തിന്റെ കണ്ടിഷനും ആ റോഡിലെ തിരക്കിലും അതിനെതിരെയോ, സൈഡിൽ നിന്നോ ശ്രദ്ധയില്ലാതെയോ, മാറ്റാൻ പറ്റാത്ത അവസ്ഥയോ വന്നാൽ ഒരപകടം തീർച്ചയായും കാണാം!

എന്താണ് ഒരു പോംവഴി എന്നതാണ് ഉദ്ദേശം.
പിന്നെ പിന്നാലെ ബൈക്കിൽ വച്ച് പായുന്ന രണ്ടുപേരുടെ ഉദ്ദേശവും ! ആ ആംബുലൻസ് പെട്ടെന്നു പ്രെയ്ക് ഇട്ടാൽ ഇതിൽ ഒരാൾ തീർച്ചയായും അതിനു പിന്നിൽ ഇടിക്കാൻ ഉള്ള സാധ്യത
അതൊക്കെ കണ്ടപ്പോൾ എഴുതണം എന്ന് തോന്നി
ശ്രദ്ധിച്ചാൽ ഒഴിവാക്കാവുന്ന ഒത്തിരി റോഡ് സുരക്ഷാ കാര്യങ്ങൾ നമ്മൾ പലപ്പോഴും മറക്കുന്നു.

One more death – #RideSafely

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Feeling really sad to inform the death of my dear little Prakashan, who was an employee of Al Tariq Auto & Heavy Equipment maintenance, Sharjah. He was on holidays in Kerala when he met with a bike to bike collision and hospitalized in critical condition. The picture portrays my first memory of him when I met him 38 years ago. A little boy running behind our car through the village road with the traditional toy of those days for children, the cycle rim and the stick!. He went on to become an aggressive child, fighter and I really cried my heart out that he will fight out from this situation, in coma and CCU for the last three days. But, god has different plans and he left this world this morning into eternal peace. He is survived by his mother, wife and two young daughters.

May his soul rest in peace. I pray for the courage of his family members to withstand this huge loss, their only bread winner and offer my prayers and support.

This is the 3rd accident in the last quarter involving those whom I know, young and educated. Two of them survived and unfortunately Prakasan perished. All those did not used helmets! Two of them were fast and furious! How on earth, I can try and educate the young people to go slow and safe on two wheelers! There needs to be an all out effort. The cry of his mother, who brought him up alone since the age of three still ringing in my ears. It took a long time to pass the news to her and give her the strength to be the pillar of strength for his wife and two young girls!.

Life ahead for them is really long and need full support. May god bless the family.

Om Sairam.
Ramesh Menon
Wednesday, 12th April 2017.

What surprised me is the laziness of people who just liked this post on social media and left it like that!!! Come out of your laziness, take the three seconds at least to type out RIP (the shortest form of consolation you can key in).

I dedicate a beautiful song on divine mother, thinking of her and all the mothers who lost their children at a young age!

All for road safety

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All for road safety

A repeat post to promote road safety – original published on 14 October 2011.

As a regular reader of Khaleej Times, and as a traffic safety campaigner in my own capacity, I am extremely happy to note the Khaleej Times Traffic Safety Campaign kicking off. But I feel that we should not just make it UAE specific, but global.

I happened to campaign for traffic and road safety after the tragic loss of two sets of lives connected to me.

One was my own brother-in- law who was killed by a speeding water tanker in Bangalore and another was my Mathematics teacher and her entire family who died in an accident in Abu Dhabi.

Both were irreparable losses to me, my family and to those affected. A moment of resilience and due diligence and all those lives could have been saved. But it didn’t happen.

I still remember the phone calls of my brother-in-law Rajeev Menon, the pleasing smile of my mathematics teacher Mrs. Victoria D’Souza and her son and their immediate family who perished in that accident. Their memories still remain with me even after many years.

I used to be a speedster myself but after those incidents I can honestly tell you that I have never violated the rules and have never incurred any traffic fines or penalties. Whenever I have witnessed an incident of road rage or an anomaly, I have campaigned heavily using my blog or other available ‘Have Your Say programmes’ to stop or control such acts being repeated in future.

One such incident I still remember was the massive road pile up that happened on the Abu Dhabi–Dubai highway two years ago on a foggy morning. On my way to Dubai Academic City to sit for an exam early in the morning, I witnessed a 35-seater bus speeding and flashing lights behind me, when there was absolutely no visibility due to the heavy fog. Probably, the driver was a regular motorist on the route and he knew the road and turnings inside out, but his actions really scared me. I allowed him to overtake me with some hesitance but noted his number and company details. After reaching Abu Dhabi I tried calling the company to notify them but they were closed.

Next morning when I read the news I learnt of the pile up that happened on the highway and immediately remembered to call them. But, till evening I couldn’t and around 5 pm when I was able to establish contact with the PRO of that company and informed him of the incident of the previous day, I was told that one of the buses was involved in the accident. Probably, it was the same driver, and the same set of passengers.

It is the duty of every road user to report violent driving habits and rash driving. Do not hesitate. One minute or one hesitant instance of your reporting may result in the loss of many lives.

Do follow the safety rules all the time. Let the initiative be taken up by all national associations, all corporate companies, all transport organisations and let us not hear about one human caused tragedy in the coming months.

Do not use mobiles, do not read papers or bills while driving, do not text. Most importantly, do not drink and drive.
Best wishes to all safety campaigners. –

Ramesh Menon, Abu Dhabi

A repeat post to promote road safety – original published on 14 October 2011.

To read in original, please visit Khaleej Times Online