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"Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha"

HCCB champions safe driving and road safety

India has the second-largest road network in the world - 5.89 million kilometers - and a population that loves traversing it. A staggering 90% of India’s passenger traffic uses the road network to commute. People travel for personal reasons, to their native villages for festivals or functions, or on expeditions to discover the country’s majestic beauty. Then there’s the country’s massive road distribution system that transports 64.5% of all goods in the country. It’s no wonder then, that at the end of 2019, India had 295.8 million motor vehicles.

The dark side of this is the fact that India has among the highest cases of road accidents and fatalities in the world. Around 90% of road accidents occur in developing countries, and 11% of these cases are reported in India alone. These statistics are deeply concerning, and awareness is critical for people to realize the importance of road safety and adherence to the rules.

At HCCB, transport underlies the entire operation, connecting the 15 factories with suppliers, and transporting refreshing beverages to distributors, wholesalers, and retailers across India. Our 6,500 strong workforce and field staff also commute to the facilities and to merchants every day. Road safety is something that HCCB champions with the utmost fervour.

AAs an advocate of road safety, HCCB joined hands with the nation to observe the 33rd National Road Safety Month from January 18, 2022, to February 11, 2022, across our facilities. Kicking off the Road Safety Month, Neeraj Garg, Chief Executive Officer, HCCB says, "Road safety continues to be a major developmental issue, a public health concern and a leading cause of death and injury across the world. We must respect the road safety rules and promote safe driving for making our & others’ lives safe” Launching the campaign “Sadak Suraksha Jeevan Raksha”, HCCB’s focus is to achieve zero road fatalities across its factories by raising awareness, maintaining their fleet, improving technology, and training drivers. Here are some of the key initiatives that the company brought in to make Indian roads safer.

HCCB’s Driver Management Centres – a place to relax and recharge

The first step towards road safety began in 2012, with Driver Management Centres (DMCs), conceptualized by HCCB to make road journeys safer for its drivers and for people on the road. HCCB’s 23 DMCs are distributed across the country along the routes their vehicles ply. The initiative is based on the findings that attribute many accidents in India to driver's fatigue. The DMCs aims to make life a little easier for drivers, who many times have to sleep in their trucks due to lack of facilities. The DMCs give them a place to rest and a warm meal, with access to facilities such as beds, a canteen, and restrooms. Since HCCB’s distribution depends on the drivers, the company makes sure they are cared for and in the right frame of mind before they set out on their respective routes and drive safely.

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Physical, mental, and emotional wellness – driving in a positive frame of mind

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The most important aspect of safe behaviour is for drivers is to have a positive and alert state of mind. For this, physical, emotional, and mental wellness must be in balance. Dr. Susanta, National Manager - Logistic Safety, HCCB, says “While driving a truck, the driver’s behaviour is the most crucial, as many incidents have occurred due to rush or distracted driving, fatigue, drowsiness, or a third party driver’s behaviour. Ensuring safety is about managing the equipment and environment through technology, as well as the people and behaviour through training.”

At the DMCs, and at HCCB factories, medical check-up facilities are available and medical camps are held for the drivers to keep track of their health. Before starting a trip, counsellors meet with drivers, to work through any mental and emotional stress and an alcohol check is also done. The HCCB team has conducted Journey Risk Assessments (JRA) for all the identified routes; these outline the possible risks that a driver could encounter on that route. Before a driver begins, the counsellor and driver also use this to talk about the possible ways to handle these risks, so that the driver is prepared.

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Defensive Driver Training (DDT) & Kiosk Based Training

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Defensive driving is the practice of anticipating dangerous situations, despite adverse conditions or the mistakes of others. To foster a culture of safety and to keep employees and truck drivers safe, not only in the factories and depots but on the roads as well, HCCB launched a training in Defensive Driving Training (DDT). In 2021, around 4 lakh trips were conducted by DMC counsellors to train 1.75 lakh drivers across HCCB factories. In addition, 2.5 lakh third-party drivers were trained in DDT in the same year.

The training programme has 4 modules in 8 languages. The drivers of HCCB’s dedicated vehicles take the training at the DMCs, which helps them be alert and ready to expect the unexpected on roads. For drivers of the spot-hired vehicles, 29 special Driver Training Kiosks are installed across HCCB sites, with online training programmes. These drivers are mandated to clear at least one test every time they report for duty. They eventually complete all the modules in subsequent trips. The DMC officials also share the data they have gathered with the drivers and meet the managers and supervisors of the transporters regularly to raise the awareness.

Fleet Safety Programme – a safe driver in a safe vehicle

The best driver, even with a positive mindset and armed with defensive driving techniques could be compromised by a faulty vehicle. HCCB has a strong system to ensure that the fleet is well maintained. A stringent ‘No-Go’ checklist is run through to ensure that the trucks’ hardware is properly functioning. HCCB’s dedicated trucks comply at 100% of Minimum Safety Devices (MSD) requirement, pool trucks comply 99.48% and non-dedicated trucks comply 89.24%.

However, with safety, the standards must only get higher, to ensure that life is protected. A Fleet Safety Programme was launched on January 1, 2022, across HCCB factories. This program is the basis to develop a fleet safety index, which will be used as a global standard by BIG (Bottling Investments Group).

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Using technology to enhance vehicle safety and incentivise positive driving behaviour

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Technology has unlimited potential in the area of safety, on aspects of driver behaviour as well as vehicle and equipment safety.

HCCB has been able to install GPS in 29% of the trucks in the fleet in 2021, and is on track to install GPS in all the dedicated trucks. The GPS provides valuable insights on driving behaviour such as whether the driver has braked suddenly, accelerated steeply or over sped. It also helps DMCs to monitor drivers’ fatigue and ensure they are resting enough for the journey.

Mobile applications have been launched to ensure consistent interaction with drivers on technical & emotional aspects before every trip. HCCB also piloted a mobile app-based driver training in one of the factory sites.

HCCB plans to digitize the entire operations of DMCs. The new system will provide almost 100% visibility of drivers’ behaviours and vehicles’ conditions. Among other things, the digitization will also do away with the current practices of spending hours for checking, reviewing, and auditing documents pertaining to drivers and their vehicles. Understandably, the overall efficiency of the DMCs will improve by several notches, helping them to make sure their drivers are well protected.

Safety does not have a full stop. There are always ways to make the roads safer, and protect lives better. HCCB keeps the fire burning on the topic, as safety is only effective when it is constantly top of mind for everyone. Activities to increase awareness and sensitize employees, drivers, and transporters on road safety will continue in 2022 as well.

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