Road Safety and Traffic Education

There was an interesting news that caught my attention. The news  by Meera Srinivasan
 “A school of thought on road safety emerges” published in The Hindu. It talks about a workshop for teachers on the traffic safety:

At a workshop organised by the NGO (Suraksha Road Safety Society) in partnership with DaimlerChrysler India Private Limited and the Society  of Indian Automobile Manufacturers here on Tuesday, teachers from city schools were trained in aspects of road safety. They would go back and train their students in these areas.

Representatives from six schools in and around the city — Ellen Sharma Memorial School, P. S. Senior Secondary School, Padma Seshadri Bala Bhavan (T. P. Road), Children’s Garden School, Sivaswami Kalalaya and Chellammal Matriculation — participated. Founder of the NGO Usha Seshasayee said the awareness campaign, targeted at about 1,000 students, was likely to benefit nearly 10,000 students owing to an overwhelming response from schools.

The workshop organisers would also hold a series of contests on road safety for Class IV children to “catch them young” and spread awareness. “A regulatory authority that monitors the issue and connects the exercises taken up by NGOs and the authorities will help,” she says.

Read the fully story in THE HINDU  (http://www.hindu.com/2007/08/01/stories/2007080159140300.htm).

Kudos to the organizers of the workshop. We were not part of the workshop and we do not know what was taught as part of the workshop. But when we consider the traffic education for Kids in Chennai, there is a basic issue:  ” What traffic education are we going to impart to the kids?

Let us take few basic things:

  • While you are on road, walk only on the footpath. Where do we have proper footpath. The kids are forced to walk on the road.
  • Use pedestrian cross (Zebra crossing) to cross the road. We do not have proper pedestrian crossing on most of the roads.
  • We do not have enough sign boards. To warn the drivers.
  • Drivers forget the courtesy factor while driving; even while kids are crossing the road.
  • No signals for the pedestrian crossing.

Along with the workshops, we need to take some creative steps to make the roads safer for kids:

  1. Identify school zones.
  2. Implement clear and wide pedestrian crossing and stop lines in these school zones.
  3. Put up the following sign boards in the school zones: School Zone, Speed Limit, No Overtaking in school zone, Yellow Lines, No Horn.
  4. Penalty for not following traffic rules in school zone should be at least triple the penalty levied in other zones.
  5. Mark Parking area/ No parking area in the school zone.
  6. Local Traffic authorities meet Parents and Teachers once in a month to hear the issues. The meeting can be clubbed with the Open House or any such event. I am sure the parents would be willing to help the authorities to implement any of the road safety measures in the school zones.
  7. Create traffic parks in the outskirts of city where the kids get a chance to drive the toy vehicles and learn the traffic rules.

If we do not have these things in place, then… instead of traffic education, it is better to enrol kids and parents to some Obstacle Training courses.

During the third week of June I had to wait near Jawahar Vidyalaya (Ashok Nagar) for almost 2 hours. Since there was nothing else to do, I decided to watch the traffic. It was pathetic. The following photograph summarizes the scene:

This photograph was taken from the footpath in front of the school using a mobile camera. See how the vehicles join another road through the wrong side of the road. See the other two specific issues marked in red. When the traffic police is present, they do their best to control the traffic. But unless the drivers decide to follow the traffic rules… chaos rules.

Watch this video  on Make Road Safe campaign of United Nations

…and read the book let A child dies every 3 minutes.

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  1. #1 by Vivek on August 7, 2007 - 7:10 pm

    I hope this turns out to be like “One small step… one giant step for the Madras people”. Strict Rules, laws, better roads and education…education…education. Thats all we need for the moment.
    I wish companies like TCS, Wipro and Infy takes up some responsibility by funding some local projects. They have got lots of money.

  2. #2 by Vinod Khare on August 8, 2007 - 3:10 am

    Very true. The situation is the same in most indian cities. Police says to cross roads at Zebra crossings? Where are they? And even if they are, pedestrians hardly have the priority, as the case is in most countries. In many europian couintries, the traffic halts even if you step in a zebra crossing. In out nation, people will very much run you over. Indians have no civic sense.

  3. #3 by p v sekaran on August 10, 2007 - 8:19 am

    What is the reason for overtaking vehicles causing agony to the oncoming traffic?

    Answer:- Sheer madness, thoughtless selfishness, impatience, imaginary heroism( as if people around him will think that he is a kinda hero).

    solution: Catch these people and take them to cholavaram race course and compel them to ride their mobike at 130kms for 10 rounds failing which 3 months imprisonment. That will take their wits out .

  4. #4 by gajraaj on May 2, 2008 - 5:51 pm

    This is an emerging need for India as we approach the higher vehicle density. I came across an interesting book on this subject. you might want to take a look at http://www.roadsafety.in

  1. Road safety for kids at Blogbharti

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