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20 children die every day on Indian roads

20 children die every day on Indian roads
Highlights

Twenty children die every day on Indian roads, \"We have asked the police for roundabouts, speed breakers, bus stops, traffic cops near schools,\" said Ameeta Wattal, Principal of Springdales School.

New Delhi: How safe are our children on India's roads?

Not very much if one were to go by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) which says that 20 children under the age of 14 die every day on the roads. Even as more than half of the world's countries have specific child safety laws in place, a World Health Organization (WHO) global status report of 2013 points out that India has none. In 2012, deaths of children while they commuted to schools increased by a whopping 39.5 percent.
A file photo of a road accident
"We require comprehensive guidelines. Globally, there are child restraint laws where kids in buses and cars are to be restraint with child seats belts and child seats. In China, there are mandatory child helmets and charges for adult accountability, where those accompanying kids will be held responsible for any lapses," said Piyush Tewari, founder and president of Save Life Foundation.

While school officials say the traffic police and the transport department must ensure more safety norms like speed breakers and availability of traffic cops outside schools, the police say schools also often flout safety norms.

"We have asked the police for roundabouts, speed breakers, bus stops, traffic cops near schools," said Ameeta Wattal, Principal of Springdales School.

While the Motor Vehicles Act has no statutes for the protection of children during commute, the only rules in place are the ones governing school buses, frequently violated by schools.

"Of the 2500 permits that we have cancelled since August 19 of buses, nearly 50 or more are of schools including many big private schools whose owners are not traceable," said Muktesh Chander, Special Commissioner, Traffic Police.
Perhaps this growing predicament is best described by a child.

"I do this every day. Yes, I feel scared a lot of times but my parents can't afford any other form of transport. Many times I have fallen too," said Dolly, a 13-year-old child, who along with her 5-year-old brother Krishna, takes the public bus every day after school.

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