Perturbed at frequent road accidents involving students, the State police have launched an intensive campaign to ensure compliance with the guidelines prescribed by the Supreme Court for vehicles transporting schoolchildren.
While planning joint surprise checks in association with Transport Department officials, the police have warned that any instance of negligence involving vehicles transporting schoolchildren would result in the cancellation of driving licence/permit. In Chennai city, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) V.A. Ravikumar said that 40 special teams had been formed for checking the overloading of schoolchildren in vans and autorickshaws.
“We are imposing heavy penalty on drivers resorting to rash and negligent driving, which includes speeding and haphazard parking. Where habitual offenders come to notice, steps will be taken to cancel their licence and also the permit of the vehicle,” he said.
Superintendent of Police (Kancheepuram) S. Manoharan said that instructions had been issued to the traffic police to circulate the copies of the Supreme Court guidelines to schools and drivers of buses/vans.
“There are complaints that schoolchildren are dropped at places convenient to the driver. We have planned to convene a meeting of parent-teacher associations and lay emphasis on the fact that the safety of students is a collective responsibility. Besides enforcing the rule of law, we are ready to assist to the extent possible … traffic police and Home Guards are being deployed at major schools to help students cross the road or board vehicles,” Mr. Manoharan said.
A sample check conducted in different districts revealed that school bus drivers were not aware of the Supreme Court guidelines though the conditions were fulfilled. “At a meeting convened recently, the drivers/conductors said they had no knowledge of first aid, though there was a medical kit in every vehicle. Many drivers admitted that they had vision problems.
We are going to conduct an eye screening camp for school bus/van drivers in coordination with the Aravind Eye Hospital,” Superintendent of Police (Madurai) V. Balakrishnan said.
The police will soon distribute handbills containing ‘dos and don’ts’ to parents/teachers explaining some basic safety measures pertaining to transportation of schoolchildren, police sources added.