‘Safe India’ campaign urges people to avoid using mobile phones on the road

New Delhi, 27 July 2017: India accounts for the highest number of road accidents globally, and over 50% of selfie-related fatalities in the world today. This startling fact is based on a report by Carnegie Mellon University, Indraprastha Institute of Information Technology, Delhi and National Institute of Technology, Tiruchirappalli. Government data also reveals that one road accident fatality happens every four minutes in India.

In order to spread awareness about the dangers of irresponsible usage of mobile phones, including taking selfies on the road, a survey was commissioned by Samsung recently as part of its ‘Safe India’ campaign. One-on-one interviews were conducted with 1341 respondents in 12 Indian cities and the findings were equally disturbing.

The survey revealed that nearly 60% two-wheeler users ‘instinctively’ answered their mobile phones when riding, while 14% of Indian pedestrians admitted to taking selfies while crossing the road. One-in-three car drivers said they tend to send a text message from behind the wheel if it were important.

Pedestrians’ attitude to safety is no different. Of the pedestrians who responded, 64% said they regularly answer the phone while crossing a road, while a further 18% said they would immediately respond to a call from their superior at work, even if crossing a road.

According to the Safe India survey, 11% of two-wheeler riders would always answer their phone when on the road, regardless of who was calling, 30% would respond to calls from family while 18% of the riders responded to work-related calls. When it comes to messaging – texts or social media updates – an alarming 23% of two-wheeler riders admitted to reading and replying to texts if the message they received was ‘important’.

Among respondents, 80% say they are ‘very concerned’ about the number of children they have seen crossing the road while on the phone, while 68% admit to seeing truck and bus drivers using their phones while behind the wheel.

Around 55% of respondents think mobile phone companies should employ technology to prevent misuse of mobile phones on the road.

Samsung has released a film as a part of the ‘Safe India’ campaign, which has already crossed 100 million views on YouTube in just 32 days. The company had also pledged its support to the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways’ drive to reduce road accidents, especially those that happen due to irresponsible usage of mobile phones. The ‘Safe India’ campaign was launched by Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping.

On its part, Samsung has invested in developing safe mobility apps for two-wheelers, cars and also those who are walking. These apps are a part of the company’s ‘Make for India’ initiative, and have been developed at Samsung India’s R&D centres in Bengaluru and Noida and are based on Indian consumer insights.

Features like the S bike mode notifies the rider of an urgent incoming call while s/he’s riding her/his bike. If the call is urgent, the caller can press 1 and the call will get through, but not until the bike stops. It also has a Smart Reply feature, where selected contacts will receive an auto-SMS with an estimate of when the user is likely to be available for a call. So all the rider needs to do is just simply tap the S bike icon and enjoy a hassle free ride.

Other features like Car Mode facilitates distraction-free and safe usage of smartphones while driving., It reads out messages for the driver, allowing him/her to access their favorite playlists, navigation and much more through distraction-free touch and voice interactions. It also has a ‘Do Not Disturb’ feature so that drivers can drive safe and stay connected at the same time.

There is also a Walk Mode designed to reduce accidents when walking and using mobile. It detects and alerts pedestrians when they are using their device while walking; with an option of hiding notifications and locking the screen while walking.

While people in general know that they should avoid using mobile phones when they are on the road, most of them do not pay heed. The ‘Safe India’ film makes people realise the seriousness of the issue and urges them to make a behavioural change.

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