This workshop exclusively for VCO’s from Tamil Nadu was held on Friday July 8th, 2016 at Maple Hall, Hotel Savera, Dr. Radha krishnan Salai, Mylapore, Chennai. The event was organized jointly by Consumers Association of India and Consumers International.

Registration for the event opened at 9:30 a.m with tea and cookies. One representative from each district of Tamil Nadu was invited and in all there were 31 participants who registered for the workshop.

The event started at 10:00 a.m with a Welcome Address by Ms. Indrani Thuraisingham, Head, Asia Pacific, Consumers International who gave a warm welcome to all the participants as well as the session speakers – representatives from the Government Sector, Auto industry and Crash Testing facility.

She spoke about the need for auto manufacturers to voluntarily adopt safety measures in all variants, Government to take necessary steps to promote vehicle safety as well as self discipline on the part of consumers.

This was followed by a power point presentation on the background and need for vehicle safety by Ms. Swathy Satyamurti, Director, Projects, CAI.

The presentation started with what is vehicle safety, differentiated between active and passive safety and looked at the various causes for car crashes. This resulted in a very interesting panel discussion between the participants as well as speakers.

She then went on to talk about the technologies designed for occupant protection and the role of GNCAP in promoting safe cars

The first session was addressed by Mr. Abhijit Madal, Dy Director, Global Automotive Research Centre (GARC). He gave a detailed presentation on the various crash testing labs available at their centre as well as facilities available at other centre’s across India. He affirmed that air bags are a necessity and gave details about new government regulations as well as readiness of their facility.

This session was followed by detailed questions from the participants. Few questions asked were – Do all car manufacturers come to their centre? What happens if a particular model fails to pass the test? How is this information regarding crash tests made available to the public? It was a very interactive session and Mr. Madal patiently answered all questions.

There were questions about testing of air bags and complaints received by VCO’s about non deployment of air bags if vehicle is stationary and/or not going at a particular speed or not being hit at the impact point etc.

Mr Madal gave technical details about how air bags are tested in their facility. He went on to say that when we talk about safety of a vehicle, we need to talk about the in-use vehicle safety, its fitness on the road, the driver skill and driver training needed. He spoke about the different NATRiP centre that provides this training and certification of vehicles. He also spoke about their efforts to come out with Driver training course book as well as Road Safety week activities along with local transport office.

The next speaker was Mr.Karunakaran, Road Transport Officer, who spoke on behalf of the Transport Commissioner, who unfortunately could not be present. The participants fired questions at the Officer right away and insisted on an interactive session. Mr. Karunakaran gently requested time to first talk about steps taken by the Government to promote road and vehicle safety, including issuing of licence.

This was then followed by a long Q & A session. The questions raised ranged from erring Government vehicles not being scrutinized to licence being issued to minors vehicles not even having side view mirrors let alone air bags. Mr.Karunakaran admitted there are some lacunae in implementation of rules however strongly said individual discipline on the part of consumers is paramount.

This was followed by a talk by Mr. Krishna kumar, GM- Service, Volvo who spoke

on behalf of the auto industry. He started his speech by saying that air bags are necessary however; there are other aspects of a car that contribute towards its safety, example tyres. He spoke about the need on the part of consumers to not cut corners by going for local treading of tires. Regarding air bags, he said Volvo was the OEM who first manufactured the air bags. He detailed the efforts taken by all OEMs to improve safety features and based on consumer demand they have not installed it mandatorily in all variants. However, with new Government regulations, they will now start to do so. This was followed by Q & A session.

The workshop broke for Lunch at 1:45pm. Post lunch, the 3 speakers stayed on to take few more questions from the participants. The Discussion with VCO’s started at 3pm.

The video presentation by CI was shown as well as crash testing videos. There was detailed talk about how each vco can take it forward in their respective districts. We stepped it up through the Survey form provided in the Kit. It was agreed that each VCO shall complete upto 100 such surveys in their respective district. They will print out the survey forms from the CD that was provided to them and send a report to CAI. It was agreed that this shall be done by end of July.

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