The Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) is to examine whether they can crack the whip on vehicles found violating safety guidelines while transporting children to summer classes.
The decision comes in the wake of Wednesday’s accident here in which 12 persons, including 10 children, were injured when the van carrying them swerved off the road and fell into the courtyard of a house, about 15 feet below the Puliyarakonam-Vattiyoorkavu road.
The accident took place after 15 other students alighted at various points. The students were of the Guru Gopinath Nadana Gramam run by the Culture Department.
A top MVD official said the department was aware of overcrowding in such vehicles, mostly used by private organisations and trusts, to ferry children to summer classes. The department was examining how to enforce the safety guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, he said.
The department was looking into whether the display of ‘on school duty’ boards would help. The lack of Motor Vehicle Inspectors and Assistant Motor Vehicle Inspectors in the department to be posted in the mobile enforcement squad was also a ‘blessing’ for those who operated such vehicles, sources said.
The department was looking at whether the rule that the drivers should have 10 years of experience, with at least five years of it in driving heavy vehicles, should be enforced. As per the guidelines and the Kerala Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Rules 2012, a driver ‘challaned’ more than twice in a year for offences such as red light jumping, violation of lane discipline, and allowing an unauthorised person to drive cannot be employed to transport schoolchildren.
A driver who had been ‘challaned’ once for over-speeding, drunk driving, and dangerous driving cannot be employed. As per the guidelines, a qualified attendant should be present in the vehicle and the details of students, name of the guardian, address and telephone numbers should be kept in the vehicle. In vehicles ferrying children to summer classes, these are seldom followed.