HYDERABAD: Fridays are good days to create a buzz online that’s what Shaik Salauddin did on January 29. He gave his safety campaign, which was initially to urge drivers to wear seatbelts, an online push to convince even those in passenger and back seats to wear the safety belt. “We see VIPs such as mantriji KTR saab, Kavitha madam and Governor madam travel in their convoys. If they also start wearing seat belts regardless of where they sit, that will send a strong message to the public. That is the reason I started this on Twitter now,” he adds. Seat belt use in passenger vehicles saved an estimated 14,955 lives in 2017, he informs.
“On Monday, we had a meeting in Cyberabad about road safety. I was appalled to see the ministers, IAS officers, their personal assistants etc without seat belts. In a city like Hyderabad, each VIP has a convoy of about six to eight vehicles and that is about 40 passengers overall. It’s time we realise everyone’s life is precious and implement this rule,” he adds.
Although Salauddin, who is Regional General Secretary, Indian Federation of App Based Transport Workers (IFAT), Telangana State Taxi and Drivers JAC and State President Telangana Telangana Four Wheeler Driver’s Association, started the campaign for seat belts in 2016, he felt that 99 per cent of drivers are wearing it, but the lacuna still remains when it comes to other passengers.
“If you read the accidents news of VIPs who were killed in accidents, you will realise that they died because the safety gear did not work as they were not wearing seat belts. That’s why we need to take this campaign beyond just drivers and to everyone in the vehicle,” he adds. “Buckle up, take a cool selfie and post the picture on social media with the hashtag #SelfieWithSeatBelt Challenge to stand a chance to win. The prizes include a petrol and diesel vouchers and car accessories,” he adds. The campaign is a different and fun way to encourage the motorists to buckle up, he said. “The selfie challenge is meant to be fun and everyone from all ages and all walks of life is welcome to participate. “Videos are welcome too,” he said. You can follow the hashtag on Twitter for details.
— Manju Latha Kalanidhi