The recently launched road safety rulebook released by the RTO says that schools -- even those that don't offer bus services to their students -- must ensure that the private vehicles are following road safety rules
According to the rulebook on road safety recently launched by the Regional Transport Office (RTO), city schools will bear the sole responsibility of ensuring their pupils' safety while commuting to and from the school premises. While the news is sure to be music to the ears of parents, the diktat has become a bone of contention for administrators of city schools, especially those that do not provide bus services to their students.
Them too? Many school students use private vehicles for their rides to
and from school. School authorities are reluctant to take the responsibility
of ensuring that these vehicles also follow the road safety rules.
The RTO released the 23rd State Road Safety awareness campaign book in the first week of January this year. It states that each school should note down mode of transport used by each and every student in its trips to and from school. It also confers on the schools the responsibility of providing each of the drivers a copy of the RTO rules. The schools will also have to keep a record of the address, contact number, and blood group of each child for emergencies.
The book also says that first-aid and fire-fighting workshops should be conducted by the school, and regular health checkups arranged for all the drivers ferrying the kids. These rules are applicable even to those schools that do not provide special transport services to students.
An official at Millat High School said, "We provide school bus service to our students, but apart from the buses, there are also 50 private vans and rickshaws ferrying students. We can monitor our school bus drivers and equip them with safety know-how through workshops, but we cannot keep tabs on private vans and rickshaw drivers, who ferry several students at a time on their vehicles. The RTO should take the responsibility of ensuring that the private vehicles conform to safety norms."
Amol Dhamdhere, secretary of the Indian Education Society, said, "We are ready to help the RTO by providing them with information of the vehicles used by students to make trips to and from the school. We also conduct mock drills on disaster management, and will include our bus drivers in the process. But we cannot arrange for health check-ups for them. It is the responsibility of the RTO officials to arrange these things. Our school does not provide school bus services. The parents themselves have arranged for buses for their kids."
V Pandkar, official at the Wadala RTO, said, "It is mandatory for schools to follow the rules laid down by the RTO. Whether they provide school bus services or not is irrelevant."