The Department of Transport Uttar Pradesh has approached the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) for taking action against automotive advertisements that depict violation of traffic rules. In his letter, K Ravindra Naik, the transport and road safety commissioner, strongly backs ASCI for its efforts in promoting responsible advertising and requests ASCI to instruct advertising agencies to adhere to the self-regulatory code.
In early July, highlighting a recent road incident in Delhi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the 10th edition of 'Mann Ki Baat' programme also focussed on the importance of road safety in the country. He said, "It is the duty of every family to inform youngsters about the importance of road safety rules. According to statistics, every four minutes a person dies in a road accident in the country and around one-third of those dying in road accidents are between 15 and 25 years of age. It is the need of the hour to create awareness of road safety across the country as also through the manner in which advertisements depict responsible driving."
Narendra Ambwani, ASCI's chairman, says, "ASCI has been very proactive on the subject of advertisements for automotive vehicles and came up with a specific guideline in April 2008. Chapter III.3 of the ASCI's self-regulatory code prescribes that advertisements shall not, without justifiable reason, show or refer to dangerous practices or manifest a disregard for safety or encourage negligence. We welcome this move by the Department of Transport, Uttar Pradesh for discouraging depiction of rash and unsafe driving. We hope each state in the country will also take effective measure to encourage responsible advertising and promote road safety."
UP's Department of Transport has requested ASCI to ask advertising agencies to take effective measures to follow the said guidelines and to blacklist the agencies that do not comply with ASCI's recommendations. The state transport authorities of UP have also written to all District Magistrates in the state to take action in this matter.
According to self-regulation guidelines on advertisements for automotive vehicles, advertisers are encouraged to depict advertisements in a manner which promote safe practices, e.g. wearing helmets and fastening seatbelts, not using mobile phones when driving etc. The guidelines state that advertisements should not portray violations of any traffic rules, should not show speeding or manoeuvrability in a manner which encourages unsafe or reckless driving, which could harm the driver, passengers and/or the general public, or show stunts or actions which require professional driving skills, in normal traffic conditions which, in any case, should carry a readable cautionary message drawing viewers' attention to the depiction of stunts.