CHENNAI: With the beginning of the new academic year, city traffic police and RTO authorities are gearing up to ensure that the students are safely transported to schools and back to their homes. Already, RTO officials of Thiruvanmiyur division have rejected permission to some 15 school vehicles for failure to adhere to the fresh safety rules laid down by the State government.
“Around 30 schools with 150 vehicles fall under our jurisdiction,” said S Karuppusamy, RTO inspector, Thiruvanmiyur. “We have completed inspection of 120 vehicles till now. Some schools have written to us, saying their vehicles are at the workshop. So, by the second week of June, we hope to complete inspection of all the vehicles.”
Topping the must-have list for school vans and buses are an emergency exit, foolproof flooring, first aid kit, fire extinguisher, driver cabin, baggage rack and a footboard, which is at a height of not more than 30 cm from the road. Besides, the maximum speed limit is 40 km/hr.
On their part, the city traffic police have mobilised their personnel to cope with the peak hour morning traffic to ensure that the movement of vehicles on arterial roads is not affected by school goers. In areas like Adyar, where six schools are located on a single stretch of road in Gandhi Nagar, vehicular congestion is a major problem. Traffic police personnel have been posted near the institutions and barricades are put up to ensure one-way traffic between 7 am to 11 am and 2 pm to 4.30 pm on the road. “We have also trained volunteers of Road Safety Patrol units to assist us,” a senior traffic police official said.
The officer blames the lack of parking space inside the schools for the congestion on the road. “Everything happens on the road. In the absence of entry or exit points inside schools, parents park their vehicles in front of the schools on the roads. In some cases, they choose to kiss and cuddle their children only then,,” he rued.
In order to ensure the safety of their children, parents must start early, the officer suggested. But that is not the case. All school-going traffic descends on the road at the same time, he pointed out. Parents must also ensure that the autorickshaws carrying their children are not overloaded.
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Many parents of DAV School feel that traffic chaos is back near the school premises, after the summer vacation, thanks to the schools having reopened. One of the parents, Sakthi who came to drop his son said, “Government should set up speed breakers near the school premises for the safety of students and pedestrians, who pass by.” Vetri, a private van driver, said, “The traffic jam near the school premises is inevitable and the government has to come up with some new plans to solve this issue. As of now, some schools are closed yet, only after those reopen, we could see the real picture.” The long line extends till Mount Road