There are reports of lakhs of road accidents annually in our country. Mr. Gadkari’s message sheds light on the initiatives that we as individuals needRead more...
Having lost a loved one in a highway accident, this family is working towards creating awareness about road safety.
“His voice still rings in my ears,” says Samriti, a 33-year-old scientist working with a government organisation, on the brief chat she had with her father when he called from the Lucknow airport to say that he had landed safely.
Her father, Sanjay Gupta, 57, a journalist of a national Hindi daily in Himachal Pradesh, and his brother had then called for a cab and were on their way to Kanpur to attend to an urgent family matter. But, that was not to be. In hindsight, Samriti thinks that they spoke of safety too soon as the real danger still lurked ahead.
As the cab started zipping down the highway, Samriti was sure her father would have told the driver to be careful at the outset itself. “Being an active member of Kalamb Road Safety Club (in Himachal Pradesh), he practised what he preached and was a stickler for traffic rules, whether or not there were any policemen around,” says Samriti.
Seeing the way traffic moves after dark, her father had also decided just not to drive, but to also refrain from travelling at night.
“This was something he encouraged his children to follow as well,” adds Samriti, who has since the day of the fatal crash of the cab — a head-on collision with a truck in April last year — been trying to deconstruct the sequence of events that left her father ‘incapacitated, going in and out of coma’ for seven months, in which he managed to ‘barely remain alive’.
She often wonders, “Could it be that the driver fell asleep and my father and uncle, who were sitting in the rear seat, didn’t realise it?”
What was even more tragic was the fact that her mother, too, had been a victim of a road accident 13 years ago.
“We couldn’t believe this was happening to us,” says Samriti. “There was my father, looking so helpless.”
The real battle started in Delhi where, after being shifted to one of the city’s best hospitals, her father’s condition continued to worsen. “And he got bed sores despite being an ICU patient. It was horrific,” says Piyush, Samriti’s brother.
After their father passed away in December 2018, the siblings joined a road safety NGO in their respective cities. And, in his memory, the two are already chalking out programmes that will make people aware about the need to observe traffic rules.
“Life is too precious to be frittered away so lightly,” says Samriti, who has also come to be associated with what Hero MotoCorp is doing — creating a positive atmosphere among youngsters so that they take a pledge to become Road Heroes.
“Everyone needs to join in and spread the word about the importance of wearing a helmet when on a two-wheeler, and fastening the seat belt when driving a car. Seat belts are essential even in the rear seats. And, finally, if you spot a road accident victim, rush them to the hospital. Look at the number of precious lives we’ll save in the process,” she adds.
Sagar Soni, a digital marketing professional who became a Road Hero, says, “During the long stretch that I have to travel to reach office, I often see accidents. Now that I have become a Road Hero, I have a simple message for my friends: When on the road, don’t worry about your hairstyle, worry about your safety and your head.”
To become a road hero, SMS Hero Your Name to 8866001830 or take the pledge below.