School Traffic Safety: A Collaborative Effort Needed in Pune

School authorities, parents and teachers need to sit together to spread awareness about traffic safety in Pune

NewsBharati    09-Jun-2024 15:09:14 PM   
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Probably some 10 years ago we had been to Uttar Pradesh. By the time we reached Delhi from Agra, it was almost past midnight, most of the streets were deserted, but the signals were working. At the crossroads whenever there was a Red signal, our taxi driver religiously stopped for it to turn green. Never did he jump the signal despite almost no traffic. Neither did he say anything, nor did we ask, but it was clear that he was consistently following all the traffic rules, during the busy hours and on the lonely streets at night too.

pune traffic safety

Similar was the case observed at Shillong, as we approached the city, it was around 6 p.m., ( as the sun set time was 5.40 PM, it was almost dark in the city) it was an extremely busy hour, and the road was narrow ( being a hilly city, it has moderately broad roads, most of them have only two lanes ), the traffic was slow and had a long queue on both the sides. All patiently waited, no honking of horns, no jumping out of the queue, it probably took some 40-50 minutes to cross the area. The city had disciplined traffic despite a fairly large number of tourists.

Pune too has fairly disciplined traffic except in the early morning time. The morning shifts of Schools start around 7.15, many rickshaws, vans and school buses ply students regularly, and many parents too take responsibility for their children, mostly mothers who are seen riding two-wheelers or driving four-wheelers in the morning. This morning traffic is terribly unruly. The two-wheelers run at the highest possible speed, and even the vans follow the same example, School buses too are no exception, they are observed ignoring the traffic rules completely.

At the crossroads, this becomes a bit more dangerous and scary. When young mothers and fathers ride two-wheelers they don't even look at the signals, or pass the crossroads at full speed which is terrifying. They seem to be completely oblivious to the danger it causes to themselves and everyone around, maybe it is the time factor that plays the mischief. Everyone drives as if the time slot is allotted only to the vehicles plying for schools. Other people have no reason to come on the road. The most serious aspect is, that children are with their parents and they unconsciously develop the impression about the traffic rules. They might feel the signals are to be ignored in the morning and we are responsible for helping them develop such an impression. May be they develop a sort of apathy about the traffic rules.

Early in the morning, many go cycling, there are morning walkers who need to cross the roads. They try to reach the pedestrian crossing for safety , but such vehicles simply make it impossible to cross safely. By chance, if one dares to cross a road, one has to face the angry stares of the daring riders and drivers. Unfortunately, if this results in an accident, whoever is hurt, the cost would be too high to bear. This picture has to change. Some thought is to be given to this. School authorities, parents and teachers need to sit together to spread awareness. Drivers need to be cautioned and sensitised. Parents need to think seriously, teachers too have to talk to children.

Traffic police ought to pay attention to it if people are not taking it seriously. They can engage students and school authorities to spread awareness regularly. Police personnel in their uniform need to address students and teachers and explain the need and importance of traffic rules. It is to be explained that it is essential for the safety of all.

School vans and bus drivers need to be engaged separately by the police department. Some orientation programmes should be organised during the vacations, and attendance should be made mandatory. It should be linked with the renewal of the licence.

All these violations are certainly recorded on the cameras installed. Strict actions ought to be initiated after the orientations. The number of children travelling on two-wheelers also needs some attention. Often three children are seen on the pillion seats, no one pays attention to it. The city had CC TV installed at many crossroads,no action seem to be taken against this.

Pune had RSP units in many schools. It should be run in all the schools. It would certainly help increase awareness about the safety measures. This would also encourage some to think joining the police service, of course, this is an additional advantage.

Prof. Vidya Deshpande

Professor Vidya Deshpande has had a journey of more than four decades in the field of education. Her  main expertise is in the subject of Philosophy,  and she has worked as a teacher of philosophy and logic with Nowrosjee Wadia college for 36 years. She has been associated with the Janakalyan Blood bank for last for 38 years and has also carried out the responsibility as a management committee member of Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha for 10 years. Her special fields of interest are Philosophy of social sciences, school education, development of skills for self reliance,  and top up skills to make students profession ready,