"Understanding road safety should begin with school children as they tend to follow the rules later in life"

Five minutes past eight in the morning, as most children make their way to school, 13-year-old S. Akash and his friends stand in the middle of a busy junction close to their school and efficiently regulate traffic.

“You know, it is quite easy to get students to follow traffic rules. It is the adults who are dismissive and drive past, often, in a hurry. Since we are just children, it is a challenge to make them follow rules,” said Akash, a class VIII student of SBOA Matriculation School, and a member of Road Safety Patrol (RSP) at his school.

“NGOs, experts and traffic wardens visit our school regularly to train the students,” said Rita John, principal of SBOA Matriculation School.

“Around 200 students are members of the road safety patrol. Even if 50 per cent of them get influenced by this training and take it forward in life, it can make a big difference,” she said. Ever since the students began to regulate traffic in the mornings, under the supervision of a few elders, no accidents have taken place near the school, said A. Aravind Prasanna, a class VIII student. “If the parents on two-wheelers dismiss our instructions, we call one of the adults for help,” he said.

Nearly 200 students participated in a road safety campaign conducted by Australian Trade Commission earlier this week. Understanding road safety should begin with school children as they tend to follow the rules later in life, said Grayson Perry, trade commissioner of Australian Trade Commission.

“We are trying to get to as many schools as possible. We are also working with NGOs. It is essential to get these children thinking about road safety early, as it is difficult to change them once they become adults,” he said.

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