UNITAR and Diageo India bring global experts to Delhi to combat drink driving

22 Aug 2017 | Press release

New Delhi, 22 August 2017: Diageo India, a leading beverage alcohol company with an outstanding portfolio of premium brands in India together with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) conducted a high-impact conference to make Indian roads safer. The event was inaugurated in the august presence of Shri. Harkesh Meena, Director (Transport), Ministry of Road Transport & Highways. At the two-day conference Indian and international experts, government and civic officials, law enforcement, educators, business and corporate leaders deliberated on solutions and shared best practices and learnings that will help address the issues of road safety in India.

Road traffic injuries from all causes claim more than 1.2 million lives each year with 90 percent of fatalities occurring in low and middle-income countries. In India, 1 road accident occurs every four minutes – and it is estimated that 1.5% of road traffic accidents and 4.6% of fatalities are attributable to drunken driving.

The conference included sessions where road safety experts shared insights on strengthening road safety legislations, a multi-stakeholder approach to reduce drunken driving, the need for infrastructure planning and urban design, and learnings through case studies from other cities and countries such as Thailand, Korea, and Philippines.


 Carolyn Panzer, Global Director of Alcohol in Society, Diageo plc said, “While the proportion of road crashes attributable to alcohol in India is small, they are all preventable and we believe a single drunken driving fatality is too many. We know from our work around the world that the most effective way to reduce drunken driving is through improving awareness and consistently, visibly enforcing legal blood alcohol limits. I’m pleased to be here in Delhi today to share our global approach to tackling drunken driving and work to bring global best practice to India as part of our partnership with UNITAR.”

Nikhil Seth, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of UNITAR said, “In April 2016, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 70/260 entitled, “Improving Global Road Safety”, which renewed the call for governments to take a leading role in the implementation of the road safety-related SDG targets and the activities of the Decade of Action for Road Safety 2011-2020.To contribute to the achievement of these targets, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) and Diageo launched a two-year partnership entitled “Road Safety Initiative for Cities”, with the aim of building individual and institutional capacity of stakeholders to reduce traffic deaths and injuries. This initiative aims to train government officials, youth, and other relevant stakeholders with a focus on countries with the highest road traffic death rates. UNITAR and Diageo are committed to act on the road safety front, and specifically on the issue of drunken driving.”

Abanti Sankaranarayanan, Chief Strategy and Corporate Affairs Officer, Diageo India said, “We believe that a mix of policies, programs and regulation are required to effectively address the issues of road safety in India particularly drinking and driving. Diageo has a long and proud track record of playing its part in tackling alcohol misuse through effective programs. Our partnership with UNITAR in India will only strengthen our resolve to drastically reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities.”


In 2016, Diageo and the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) signed a two-year partnership agreement to collaborate to build institutional and individual capacity to reduce traffic death and injuries, and improve road safety globally. Training will be run in 15 countries across Africa, Asia, Latin and Central America, with a focus on countries with the highest death rates related to road traffic accidents. Over 60 countries will be invited to participate.

The training activities will reach approximately 6,000 participants who will be a mix of government officials, young people, and other relevant stakeholders, through training workshops for government officials at the national and local levels, awareness-raising road shows for young people and high-level conferences on the issue.

Diageo has a long history of working to reduce alcohol-related fatalities and crashes and supports numerous drink drive prevention programs around the world. These range from supporting high visibility enforcement through random breath tests in countries such as Ghana, Mexico and China, to funding safe rides and free public transportation, and supporting laws to establish maximum blood alcohol concentration levels in countries where none exist.

In India, Diageo’s signature ‘Diageo Road to Safety’ program, now in its 3rd year and is executed in partnership with state governments and reputed not-for-profit organizations. To date, the initiative has reached reaching 50 new cities in 15 states and trained over 3,900 traffic officials in road safety capacity-building, along with 6,000 commercial vehicle drivers. The program has also received over 3 million pledges against drinking and driving in India.