The Bangalore-based NGO Friends for Life (FFL) launched a road safety campaign on April 7 2004 in honour of World Health Day, the theme of which was "Road Safety is No Accident". The focus of the campaign was on issues like road rage, lane discipline, speeding, drunken driving, and wearing of safety devices. Aims of the campaign included:
  • raising awareness about road dangers
  • educating road users about safety
  • encouraging safe practices
Communication Strategies: 

This initiative involved providing potential campaigners with tools for running a road safety campaign; the suggested length of time for such a campaign was one week. Available on the FFL website (no longer online), these tools were offered as a "communi-kit" containing free posters, banners, logos, e-mailers, short messenger service text, and a template/note for placement in an organisation's internal newsletter. Also hosted here is an online road safety discussion forum. Email messages were sent widely to organisations to encourage efforts to carry out the campaign in the workplace (e.g., making colour prints of the posters and pasting them on notice boards or posting them on an organisational intranet), and to urge people to circulate the kit to their friends. Specific ideas for participation were shared in a PDF document that was produced and transmitted by FFL.

The campaign emphasised the importance of conscious road safety activism. Corporate houses and individuals were asked to pool their resources and support this campaign as sponsors. FFL encouraged organisations to participate by suggesting that they might thereby educate individuals, save lives, and fulfill their social responsibility. Participants were also told that any coverage (video footage, photographs, or articles included in a newsletter) would be shared with the World Health Organization (WHO), as part of World Health Day.

One particular population addressed by this initiative was youth. First, FFL held the "DriveSafe" rally jointly with a biking club called RD Dreams at popular city college hang-outs in Bangalore. Helmets were given out as prizes based on quiz contests at these spots. Second, on April 3 2004, Toastmasters and FFL conducted an interactive discussion on road safety - "SafeSpeak" - involving orators from other Bangalore-based clubs and college students. The discussion resulted in a Citizens' Report on Road Safety that was formally released to the media.

Development Issues: 

Road Safety, Health.

Key Points: 

According to FFL, injuries due to road accidents constitute a major public health problem. In industrialised countries, intentional and unintentional (accidental) injuries have become the third most important cause of overall mortality and the main cause of death among the 1- to 40-year-old age group. Overall, these injuries represent 12% of the global burden of disease. FFL states that, in a city like Bangalore with a population of over 5 million, the traffic stood at 1.45 million vehicles in 2001 - representing an increase of more than 200% in a 14-year period. Bangalore adds nearly 500 new, young, and inexperienced drivers to the roads every day.

FFL President Anish Koshy stated that "By allowing citizens to voice their opinions on the issues of road safety, we hope to empower them and suggest creative solutions to pressing problems currently faced by poor road and traffic conditions. Citizens can bring about change in collaboration with administrative authorities at the ground level. By educating road users, there is so much potential to inculcate better safety standards and precautions".

World Health Day 2004 marked the start of a global campaign for road traffic injury prevention. The WHO uses World Health Day as a tool for reaching out at international, national, and local levels and engaging the general public through communication (health messages) about an issue that is familiar, but neglected. While FFL's Road Smart Campaign was structured around this particular Day in 2004, the organisation encourages organisations to conduct awareness efforts around the theme of road safety, using the tools and ideas they provide, at any time.


Letter sent from Anish Koshy to The Communication Initiative on March 29 2004; and the FFL website (no longer online).