ARE CHILDREN going to school in school buses, autorickshaws and Maruti vans safe? A definite no will be the answer of the traffic police, who carried out a massive checking drive at five points today morning and booked 29 school buses, 45 autorickshaws and three Maruti vans—all carrying schoolchildren—for various traffic violations.
Looking at the gravity of the situation, a meeting of school principals was called in the afternoon at the Police Control Room to discuss the issue.
In the eastern sector, the traffic department officials led by DSP Devendra Patidar carried out checking at Navlakha, White Church and Satya Sai Crossing, and all vehicles carrying schoolchildren were thoroughly checked. It was found that while autorickshaws were allowed to carry only eight children, most of them carried 15 children; Maruti vans can take only 14 children, but they were found to be carrying up to 30 children.
Overloading was also found in a number of school buses and many did not have speed governors on them. In three of the Maruti vans, it was found that the drivers did not have professional licenses. Cases were registered against 34 autorickshaw drivers for overloading.
In the western sector, traffic DSP Vijay David led the checking team. Many school buses were found to be driving at very high speed. Cases were registered against 16 such buses for over speeding and not having speed governors. For overloading 11 autorickshaws were booked.
At the meeting held at the Control Room, the traffic department officials expressed concern over the series of accidents in which vehicles carrying schoolchildren have been involved. The school principals were also informed of the directives of the Supreme Court regarding schoolchildren’s safety. The traffic department offered 19- point suggestions to the school principals on how they could increase safety and security of schoolchildren travelling on buses and five point suggestions on how autorickshaws carrying school children should run.
It was decided that no autorickshaw should carry more than eight children, schools should have phone numbers and address of the driver, children should be picked up from school premises. The officials also assured that the traffic department would do its best to provide support to schools in ensuring safety to students, and suggested that if any parent or school management had any problems, they should contract the police.