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Pune Oct. 7

IT was an event unlike most other corporate occasions.

A sunny morning with the excited chatter of 100 school children in the background. The occasion: culmination of the first phase of an innovative traffic safety programme - Mercedes Benz Mobile kids by DaimlerChrysler India.

Mr Hans Michael Huber, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of DaimlerChrysler, said as a pilot phase, the company had executed this programme over the past two months across three schools in Pune (approximately 1,000 children).

Mr Huber noted that this was only a logical extension to the company's vision of `accident-free driving'. The company ensured that every part that went into the automobile was safe and the drivers were also trained. "To complete the 360 degrees, it was essential to rope in the young minds and educate them on the traffic system as they would be the next generation vehicle owners," he said.

Commenting on the project, Mr Huber said the `Mercedes-Benz Mobile kids' programme is a road-safety programme that taught the children the basics of road safety in a fun and entertaining manner. This programme has done its rounds in Europe, Asia and has now been tailor-made for the Indians.

"We targeted Std. IV students for the start of the programme because children at this age begin their independent interactions with road and traffic; bringing bicycles to schools, going unattended to playgrounds etc. and are in need of road safety awareness,'' he pointed out.

Mr Huber said the second phase of the project would begin in the next calendar year with participation from three other schools and would be later on extended to New Delhi and Mumbai.

The first phase of the pilot project has ended with an inter-school event and also a special inter-school contest, and the winner was awarded the `Mercedes Benz experience' for a day with a visit to the DaimlerChrysler plant in Pune in a chauffeur-driven Mercedes Benz with his parents, Mr Huber added.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated October 8, 2005)
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