Postcards to create awareness of traffic rules in TN

Last Updated 30 December 2019, 18:15 IST

Considered redundant by many, the humble yellow-colour postcard sold for a mere 50 paise is working wonders to create awareness on wearing helmets and seat belts among school students in this southern Tamil Nadu city.

Known for its innovative ideas to create awareness on traffic rules like coming out with hilarious memes based on vintage comedy sequences of popular Tamil comedian Vadivelu, the Tirunelveli City Police toyed with the idea of reaching out to children to “teach traffic rules” and pass it on to their parents through them.

The postcards, pre-paid in nature, are distributed in schools where the police visit for awareness camps and ask them to write to the Deputy Commissioner of Police within 15 days on how many people they reached out to by sensitizing them on the need to wear helmets and seat belts and obey other traffic rules.

During the camps, the children are asked to go home and tell their parents, relatives, and friends the positive side of wearing helmets and seatbelts and how a small step would save their lives.

“We have received tremendous response from students. We are flooded with letters from school children on how our lessons have made an impact on their lives. Children write to me on how their parents have begun wearing helmets and seat belts while riding a bike or driving a car,” Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law & Order) A Saravanan, told DH.

The students are told that most people succumb to their head injuries sustained during an accident and how wearing helmets could save their lives. “If students are taught about traffic rules during their schooling, there are higher chances of them following them duly as they age,” Saravanan added.

Twenty letters from each school are chosen and students who penned them are presented with a gift and ‘Respectable Student’ certificate at the Commissioner’s office. The police have received more than 500 letters since July when the programme was launched with students penning their experiences.

J Fathima, who studies plus-two at the Muslim Higher Secondary School, wrote to Saravanan that she reached out to 11 people on the need to wear a helmet and three people on traffic rules. “I am thankful to you for coming to our school and imparting lessons on traffic rules. I wish to don the police uniform by joining IPS,” she wrote.

Saravanan said the police reach out to students above the eighth standard and plans to visit all 103 schools in the city in the next few months.

The city police have also received laurels from netizens for maximum use of social media to take traffic rules and the need to be aware of rules to citizens – popular memes featuring Vadivelu were created and circulated on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram which were a huge hit.

“The idea was to gulf the bridge between people and the police and we thought social media was the best medium. Though the gulf may not be bridged 100 percent, we are trying to reduce the gap. We have witnessed a visible change in people’s attitudes on wearing helmets,” Saravanan, who received the SKOCH award last month for various pro-people initiatives, said.

A parent who accompanied his child to the Commissioner’s office to collect the gift and certificate said police in other cities and states should also come out with such initiatives to sensitise students and the public on rules.

(Published 30 December 2019, 12:34 IST)

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