WANT NATIONAL HIGHWAYS
TO BE HIV /AIDS FREE
T. K. Malhotra, President And CEO
us explain. AAUI has been associated with the cause to create
road safety awareness among people, whether you are a heavy
or medium commercial vehicle driver or a taxi or an auto scooter
rickshaw driver or your passenger car's own driver or a pedestrian.
over 55 years, we have been performing this duty as part of
a global non-governmental organisation. Automobile Associations
in more than 130 countries are affiliated with Geneva based
Alliance Internationale De Tourisme (AIT) which was founded
in the 1898. The objective of this global body is to ensure
freedom of mobility and provide safe travel.
past some years, we have been imparting training to heavy vehicles
drivers like of trucks and buses plying on highways. Far away
from their homes, many of these drivers get tempted by "sex
shops'' on the highways. And there, it is unsafe sex!
imagine, these highway truck and bus drivers are not only risking
their life, they are endangering the lives of their wives and
yet to be born babies. Studies have shown that neither sex workers
nor the drivers take precaution. In many remote areas of northern
states, villages have shown a very high number of HIV/AIDs cases
because most of the men over there are highway drivers.
associated with AIDS issues have come to conclusion that the
wives of truck drivers turned HIV positive as they got the deadly
virus from their husbands who got it while having unsafe sex
on the highways.
We have decided to educate the highway drives about the dangers
of unsafe sex which is threatening to ruin their as well as
their families' life if got caught in the deadly virus of AIDS
in this process.
recent study done by a well-known NGO activist, associated with
AIDS issues, Sadhna Mohan (she is the Editor of AIDSBUZZ) has
shown that just two hours drive away from the national capital
on the Delhi-Bharatpur-Agra highway, for centuries, a nomadic
tribe has been practicing a tradition unheard of anywhere else.
Its women sell sex under the watchful eyes of their parents
Rs 50, less than the price of a chicken burger, a young rural
sex worker of this tribe sleeps with any man who comes by. She
happy and proud walking the footsteps of the women of her tribe
living in the states of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh.
About 200 km away from New Delhi, this area is in the middle
of top domestic and foreign tourists destination. The highway
"sex shops'' are doing business just a stone thrown away
from the world famous bird sanctuary in Bharatpur.
the Agra-Jaipur national highway thousands of trucks ply daily.
The potential for an AIDS epidemic is huge. Twelve truckers
have recently been found positive for HIV in recently launched
testing at the Bharatpur district hospital. No woman of this
tribe has been tested so far, nor is any initiative in the offing
to monitor HIV prevalence among them.
for the first time, AAUI has decided to counsel national highway
drivers also about the threat of HIV/AIDS which is far bigger
than a mere road accident. We will invite experts and NGOs to
hold regular talks with these drivers at the time of their training
or refresher courses.
AAUI during its study on more than 15,000 heavy motor vehicle
drivers found that only 19% to 20% of truck and bus drivers
can be called 'safe drivers'. The formalized structure essential
to run a driving training school is now in place at the AAUI's
run driving training institution.
two day refresher course to benefit school transport and heavy
motor vehicle drivers is being conducted in the Institution.
density of vehicles in the country particularly in Metros has
increased beyond a limit. There is need to train truck and school
transport drivers as also car drivers scientifically to reduce
frequency of road accidents.
has imported the world class "virtual reality electronic
simulators" to impart driving skills and evaluate aptitude
of drivers. The first of its kind in Asia, the software provides
hills, desert, forest, coastal, highway, city road driving under
all weather and day and night conditions to be learned sitting
in the simulator itself.
cabins of simulators are of the same size as of a car and a
bus. The simulators also provide real environment like dusk/dawn
and nigh conditions affecting the visibility. The truck load
is also increased to evaluate maneuvering skill of a driver.
The simulators not only save fuel during training but also help
reducing physical fears of those taking to the wheels first