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Survey highlights gaps in safe commutation of school children in India

At least 47% of the approximately 12,000 children and parents surveyed in 14 cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and Kolkata, admitted that school buses and minibuses do not have seat belts, while about 30% of children said they witnessed the accident. at least once on the way to or from school. These are the results of the latest study, the National Safe School Travel Survey, conducted by the NGO SaveLIFE Foundation and Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI), which identifies road safety gaps for children in the country.

In Delhi, where schools are likely to reopen after the holiday season, at least 40% of respondents indicated that school buses, taxis and minibuses did not have seat belts. About 22% of respondents in Delhi did not know if the vehicle was equipped with speed controllers, compared to 54% nationwide. In 2019, 11,168 children under the age of 18 died in road traffic crashes, 63 of which died in Delhi alone.

“To date, more than 25 states and union territories have announced the reopening of schools. While there is a vaccine for Covid-19, the infant death vaccine on our roads is actually our collective action. Our findings in this report underscore once again that the right to travel safely to school is as important as the right to education itself. A comprehensive national and state school transport safety policy can guarantee what is currently lacking in our country, ”said Piyush Tevari, founder and CEO of SaveLIFE Foundation, a non-governmental organization that works to improve road safety and provide emergency medical care throughout India. …

The study, which also focused on the safety of children in the school area, found that at the national level, almost half of the respondents reported no cycle paths in the school area, and 30% of the respondents reported no walking paths in the school area. school area. In Delhi, 63% of respondents said there were no cycle paths in the school area, while 29% reported no walking paths. In addition, 98% of respondents who walked to school reported never using reflective stickers. Schools in Delhi briefly reopened in January 2021. However, due to the second wave of Covid-19, schools were closed again. Currently, in the capital of the country, it is allowed to attend grades 9-12.

Manu Saale, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of MBRDI, said that it is now very important to modernize the infrastructure around the schools. “Redesigning signs around schools to notify speed limits, build speed limiters if necessary, map out zebra crossing patterns and distribute reflective jackets to children walking around schools are some of the urgent things to look out for.” he said.

“In addition, enforcement measures in the vicinity of school areas should be more stringent to minimize the exposure of children to moving vehicles. Schools should use road marshals to help children cross roads safely in school areas, ”Saale said.

The study found that 24% of children who use school transport reported that they most often or sometimes complain about rash driving / overtaking / jumping at a red light at a traffic light. In addition, 22% of children stated that they never wait for a vehicle to come to a complete stop before boarding or disembarking.

The majority of respondents in Vijayawada (87%), Kolkata (70%), Patna (65%) and Jamshedpur (61%) said their cars were not fitted with seat belts. More than half of the respondents from Mumbai said that the permitted speed limit for the vehicle was not indicated on the vehicle. In addition, 56% of the respondents from Kolkata did not know if their cars were equipped with speed regulators. In addition, 19% of respondents from Mumbai and 15% of respondents from Bhopal said their cars have unreliable locks.



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