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Leverkusen, Germany, 2010/12/03 - At the first "LANXESS Rubber Day India", experts from politics, academia, the media, and the automotive and rubber industries met up today in New Delhi to discuss initiatives to improve traffic safety in India. FRA: DE Frankfurt: LXS
• Recent study shows that good-quality tires help improve safety on the roads;
• Introduction of tire standards would reduce road accidents and lower environmental impact;
• Specialty chemicals company organizes first forum in New Delhi to discuss potential solutions.
At the first "LANXESS Rubber Day India", experts from politics, academia, the media, and the automotive and rubber industries met up today in New Delhi to discuss initiatives to improve traffic safety in India. Around 250 delegates took up the invitation of specialty chemicals group LANXESS. The main questions were how the rapidly growing country of India could combat the dramatic increase in the number of road accidents and what contributions tire manufacturers and rubber suppliers could make.
In a recent study by the Technical University of Munich, Professor Horst Wildemann presented some alarming figures. First, India has more fatal traffic accidents than any other country in the world. In 2008 alone, around 120,000 people were killed on India's roads. That is the number of people who lives in the German city of Wolfsburg.
At the same time, the number of cars registered in India is very small compared with the numbers in western countries. Whereas in Germany, for example, 554 vehicles are registered for every 1,000 inhabitants, the corresponding figure in India is only 15. The subcontinent is currently in the process of transition from a two-wheel to a four-wheel society. But, according to the study, this is overtaxing many road users. Heavy trucks are the main culprits, and are responsible for a large number of the accidents. Compared with the United States, for example, the amount of truck traffic in India is disproportionately high.
Apart from driving errors, the main reasons for the high accident rate are the poor local infrastructure and the bad condition of many of the vehicles. This is particularly true of trucks, which frequently ply the country's roads with very badly worn tires. "The combination of poor road surfaces and excessively worn tires produces a dangerous concoction," says Prof. Wildemann. "If the condition of the tires were to be regulated by quality standards, the overall accident rate would improve by five percent. In this way, as many as 24,000 accidents leading to personal injury could have been prevented in 2008."
In view of these facts, LANXESS, as a technology leader in the field of synthetic rubber, advocates the rapid introduction of appropriate quality standards for tires. The subject was discussed at the LANXESS Rubber Day India by a number of notable representatives of the Indian and European tire industry, including experts from Tata Motors, Volkswagen and JK Tyres. Also attending were specialists from TÜV SÜD and the Indian Rubber Association along with German Ambassador to India Thomas Matussek and Jasbir Singh, advisor to the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
Another area of focus for LANXESS as far as tires are concerned is their environmental friendliness. Quality tires help save fuel and thus reduce the CO2 emissions of vehicles. "By prescribing quality standards for tires, the Indian legislator would make a significant contribution towards both raising the standard of traffic safety and reducing the impact on the environment at the same time," said LANXESS CEO Axel C. Heitmann, summing up the debate.
The specialty chemicals group is also expanding its global research network and has signed a cooperation agreement with the leading Indian institute for rubber research. Partnering LANXESS is the Hari Shankar Singhania Elastomer and Tyre Research Institute (HASETRI), which is based in Kankroli in the state of Rajasthan. The agreement with the independent Institute, which was founded in 1991, aims to accompany the development of the rapidly growing tire market in India.
LANXESS is the world's leading manufacturer of synthetic rubber, the majority of which goes into tire production. This business accounts for around 25 percent of Group sales.
LANXESS (lanxess.com) is a leading specialty chemicals company with sales of EUR 5.06 billion in 2009 and currently around 14,500 employees in 23 countries. The company is represented at 42 production sites worldwide. The core business of LANXESS is the development, manufacturing and marketing of plastics, rubber, intermediates and specialty chemicals.
Rudolf Eickeler, Spokesperson Financial and Business Media
T: +49 214 30 40483 / F: +49 214 30 50691 / E: rudolf.eickeler[.]lanxess.com.