Survey to check overloading of schoolchildren

Survey to check overloading of schoolchildren

Regional Transport Office (RTO) will conduct a survey to check excess children being carried in vehicles, including autorickshaws rented or attached to school management, in violation of traffic rules, In-charge Assistant Regional Transport Officer (ARTO) John B Misquith said.

The survey came close on the heels of many autorickshaws and school van drivers continuing to cram children in their vehicles. Though police had booked 48 cases against school vans and autorickshaw drivers for carrying more than the prescribed number of children here recently, the drive, done randomly, appears to have little impact.

RTO’s orders to autorickshaws not to ferry more than six children and school vans on carrying students according to the seating capacity are not being adhered to by the drivers, he admitted. “Drivers continue to carry more number of children in their vehicles and this could put the children’s lives at stake,” he said.

Misquith said the parents were also to be blamed for their negligence despite being aware of the rules for vehicles carrying children to schools.

“Safety of children should be the prime consideration for parents and they should ensure that their children are taken to school in a safe manner. This is the best education anybody can give. Education starts from home and from there moves ahead to the society and all other levels,” he stressed. The enforcement drive by the RTO will continue and licence will be suspended against those found violating the rules repeatedly, he added.

ARTO said the issue had also been brought to the notice of Deputy Commissioner and the need to co-ordinate with other departments such as education and police so that an effective campaign takes place. Schools have also been informed about the safety of school vehicles carrying children.

A mother, who sends her daughter to the school through the school van, welcomed the RTO’s decision to restrict the number of children in school vehicles. On the condition of anonymity, the woman said that such strict adherence to safety guidelines would ensure access to ventilation.

But the responsibility should be shared by others, including school authorities for denying school bus services to children coming from remote or city’s outskirts. When public transport are scarce in those regions parents are left with no option but to send their children in whatever vechicle available, she stressed.

“RTO should help such families and children by arranging transport facilities in these locations,” the young mother added.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        -Nishitha Fernandes

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