A five-year-old lost her life on Tuesday when the driver of her school cab jumped a traffic signal at a busy Dhaula Kuan intersection.
Six other students aged between five and 10, all from Air Force School in Subroto Park, were injured in the incident. Private school cabs are notorious for endangering young lives by speeding and breaking traffic rules.
While most schools discourage the use of vans and recommend school buses instead, many parents still employ private vans to ferry children since school buses don’t drop children at their doorstep. And though such vans are supposed to be registered with the Delhi government and have speed governors and verified drivers, the guidelines are often ignored.
On Tuesday afternoon, the driver of the ill-fated Maruti Omni Van had jumped a traffic signal and taken a U-turn when a Maruti Swift approaching from behind crashed into the vehicle.
According to a policeman who witnessed the accident, the impact threw the speeding van off balance and it toppled to its left, crushing Gauri’s neck and inflicting fatal head injuries. The accident occurred at Cariappa Marg opposite Dhaula Kuan metro station at 1.35 pm.
While accompanying her granddaughter — an only child — to Safdarjung Hospital, Gauri’s grandmother said the idea of hiring a private van had been floated by the school. An Air Force School spokesperson, however, said the school had its own buses and they did not hire the cab.
The driver, identified as Sumit Kumar, has been arrested.