Kerala

Demand to accord priority to ‘school zone safety’

With full-fledged reopening of schools round the corner after a two-year lull caused by the pandemic, demand is rife that school authorities, enforcement agencies, and parent-teacher associations (PTA) ready measures to ensure ‘school zone safety’.

Extra care must be given to ensure the safety and security of children in school zones, so that it becomes a culture, over time, said Upendra Narayanan, Director, Indian Institute of Road Safety.

“For this, drivers must be forewarned that they are approaching a school and of the need to adhere to a speed limit of less than 30 kmph. Foolproof parking arrangements too must be made, while also taking care to draw pedestrian lines as per specifications. There must be at least three boards forewarning motorists of speed limit and of impending pedestrian crossings,” he said.

The Motor Vehicles Department (MVD), police, school authorities, and PTAs must also install CCTVs, which will help enforce traffic rules and also keep track of the movement of strangers in the vicinity. Deploying police personnel or home guards in front of schools too will help. They can be assisted by NSS/NCC volunteers who must be provided with reflective jackets and flags to signal motorists. PTAs ought to take a proactive role in it, if needed, by helping arrange funds to install infrastructure and blinker lights to warn motorists of school zones, he added and demanded that the government ready a code of practices that ought to be adhered to in such zones.

A senior police official said surprise inspections by the police and the MVD, armed with alcometers (device used to determine the level of alcohol in breath), will help nab drivers of school buses, vans, and autorickshaws who tend to drive under the influence of liquor and narcotics. Installing dual dash cams — one facing the interior and the other the exterior of school buses will help deter rash driving and maltreatment of children.

An inspection of school buses to ascertain their fitness will be held shortly at a school in Kakkanad, wherein drivers will also be given awareness sessions on safe driving and steps to ensure children’s safety, said Ernakulam RTO P.M. Shabeer.

“Stickers will be pasted on school buses and other vehicles that pass the test. The drive will be completed in the coming week. Parents and school authorities must help by passing on information about ill-maintained vehicles or other aspects that pose safety or security hazard,” Mr. Shabeer said.

In addition, patrolling will be intensified in school zones all through June. Each school must entrust a teacher-coordinator to help in the endeavour. Steps will also be taken to ensure that students are able to safely board private buses and sit and travel if seats are available, Mr. Shabeer said.


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Printable version | May 28, 2022 12:21:34 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/demand-to-accord-priority-to-school-zone-safety/article65467417.ece