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Kirron Kher, Lok Sabha MP, praises Diageo India’s Road to Safety campaign

It is heartening to see private sector companies espouse the cause of road safety in India, Kirron Kher, Member of Parliament said on the occasion of National Road Safety Week hosted by Diageo India and NDTV.

Kirron Kher

“We laud the commitment of Diageo for sensitizing Indians especially the youth towards maintaining road safety in India,” she said at a panel discussion held in Chandigarh.

“I urge every Indian citizen to abide by traffic rules and to Never Drink and Drive,” she said. It will go a long way in helping the government reduce road accidents by at least 50 per cent, during this decade, she added.

Ms. Kher and other panelists – Bollywood actress Puja Talwar and Diageo India’s General Manager, Sustainability Navdeep Singh Mehram – pledged to ‘Never Drink and Drive’ and urged the audience to take the solemn pledge.  More than 100 residents of Chandigarh pledged their support for the cause of road safety at the meeting.

The government statistics reveal the appalling state of road safety in India: one road accident occurs every four minutes in India. With over 1, 45,000 fatalities a year, India accounts for 12.5% of global road accidents. India suffers a loss of $58 billion annually due to accidents, according to UN data.

To address the sharp rise of road accidents across the country, the guests at the panel discussed critical issues affecting the safety of Indian citizens on roads when travelling within the cities and national highways.

They highlighted the increasing number of deaths on national highways due to irresponsible driving and the menace of Drunk Driving, emphasising on the need to strengthen the licensing mechanism and educate the youth about responsible drinking.

Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Strategy & Corporate Affairs Officer, Diageo India, said the company is at the forefront in championing road safety in India. “Our Road to Safety initiative currently in its fourth year has been able to achieve significant success owing strong partnerships with the Government, NGOs, media and civil society. I am confident that through consistent and collaborative industry efforts, we will be able to drastically reduce the number of road fatalities.”

Diageo’s ‘Road to Safety’ initiative endeavours to arouse collective consciousness around responsible drinking, road safety and encourage road users especially the youth to ‘Never Drink and Drive.’ Diageo supports the World Health Organisation’s goal to reduce harmful use of alcohol by 10 percent by 2025.