The previous post on tactical solutions to logistics problems in India was a sequel to its predecessor on how there is yet a long way to go. This one goes further. Another way, if you will, showing the shining star in global economy, to go all the way.
Investments in Logistics usually only seem to give importance to infrastructure expenditure, creation of automated warehousing facilities and logistics hubs, fleet operations, big-scale technologies, advanced mobility systems, drones, robotics, and shipment vehicle tracking systems. A very important investment, however, of training and creating awareness in drivers for maintaining the required safety standards and ensuring a healthy and safe life for them as well, seems to be an area, more often than not, neglected.
Muhammad Ali, the legendary American boxer and philanthropist said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion’.”
In the earlier post, I did make a passing reference to behavioural problems in Logistics which can be solved with a resolute resolve and equipment of education. Training is the tool to accomplish it.
Rough road conditions and high traffic density beyond the control of extremely low count of affordable sets of traffic control equipment and manpower give rise to frustration for drivers in India. Factors many more than these add to that frustration. They are mainly congestion, potholes, long wait at signals, honking, not giving way, overtaking, lane splitting, no traffic cops to control violations and obstructions on the road viz. dysfunctional or asynchronous traffic signal system, encroachments on the road, public processions, agitations and rallies, breakdown of vehicles, repair work zones and debris, trees, electrical fittings and dangerously dangling wires, etc. all causing enormous delays. Lack of education in drivers render them incapable of handling the frustration due to these delays. Frustration directly increases probability of accidents.
A major behavioural problem is driver indiscipline which includes wrong-way driving (WWD) or ghost driving, rash driving, drunken driving, talking on mobile while driving, jumping signals, lane violation, overtaking, parking at prohibited places, etc.
Both frustration and driver indiscipline could be controlled through effective training programmes.
Citizens as well as industry which employs truck drivers need to regularly subscribe to training programmes on driving and road safety measures to understand their impact on their own health as well as that of the national economy.
It will certainly mean working very hard against popular perceptions particularly of literate citizens that they do not need any training, but such tendencies are to be unfalteringly fought against. Training is not just about skilled driving, but also about a sense of responsibility towards all the factors that are affected by driving and about the significance of the role of a driver in traffic control, road safety, health, environment and economy. Training, therefore, is not just the most important but an indispensable component in every mile of Logistics development.
In the words of the witty humourist Mark Twain, “A man can seldom — very, very, seldom — fight a winning fight against his training; the odds are too heavy.”
So, the next time you hear a desperate ambulance wailing amidst heavy traffic carrying a patient fighting for life, you know you can help her reach the hospital in time instead of just feeling helpless or worse, just ignoring. It is as much a responsibility of all the drivers on the road as of the traffic police. Only proper education and training will sensitize drivers towards this responsibility and their important role in almost every aspect of national growth.
After all, an economic superpower is not made only by highways, logistics hubs and infrastructure development, but also by the smooth ride it can give her subject citizens all through their lifetime. That is truly to go all the way.