There are 480 million school-going children in India and over half of them are vulnerable in their school transport. Expressing concerns over the issue, The Institute Of Road Traffic Education (IRTE) and Ministry of Road Transport & Highways (MoRTH) held a two-day conference to draft a policy for the safety of children while they are being driven to school. The conference was held in association with the School of Planning & Architecture, Delhi where all the stakeholders gathered to discuss the roles and responsibility, road environment, vehicle factors and standard operations in a bid to make the roads safer for children.
One of the key focus areas of the conference was data collection. The stakeholder stressed on collecting Data of the accidents in order to analyse the situation and find out the occurrence of the accident. Speaking on the matter, Abhay Damle, IRS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, Govt of India, said, "Absence of data is a huge challenge, the Ministry is working towards creating a system where the exact location of the accident can be recorded. Details through the help of technology will help us get data in a more transparent and accurate manner. I welcome this initiative by IRTE and I do expect that they will be able to share key recommendations and help us in creating this policy."
On a similar note, Sudeep Lakhtakia, Director General, Bureau of Police Research & Development & National Security Guards, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. said," While India has been on the path of improving economic indicators. The schools are mushrooming but the road to school or back home from school is not safe. Without data we are in realms of speculation. We need a more robust way to collect data and find better solutions. We need to draft SOPs and key pointers to drafting this policy, I would request the stakeholders to deliberate and suggest solutions. We need to draft our policies well and this initiative is a great example of private-public partnership."
Over 100 participants including safety experts, Students, School Authorities, Vehicle Manufacturers, Transport Commissioners, Government officials and International agencies like UNECE and UNESCAP came together to discuss and deliberate on drafting a policy.