School Zone Safety Program
Road Safety is a serious issue of concern in India. With just 1% of global vehicles, India accounts for nearly 11% of global road accident fatalities. As per official records, nearly 150,000 people lose their lives every year on Indian Roads, and nearly 300,000 people get so severely injured that they lose their productivity and become dependent on their family or society for the rest of life. Nearly 10% of the fatalities take place of children near their unsafe school zones. Therefore, road safety is a social problem.
A careful diagnosis of road accidents reveals over 80% of accidents occur due to avoidable human errors like overspeeding, without a helmet, drunk & driving, violation of traffic rules, and a casual/careless attitude toward road safety. Therefore, apart from enforcement issues, it is also a cultural issue. There is a lack of a humanistic road safety culture in the society.
The School Zone Safety Program’s vision is to create that road safety culture in society from a very young age and make the school zones safer. Children are the best ambassadors for any such cultural changes. Social change begins once children become aware of road safety and practice it near their schools. Safe School Zone will not only provide children safety from accidents but also give them practical learning. When these children become adults and get driving licenses, the fragrance of road safety culture will make our roads much safer.
The implementation strategy of the School Zone Safety Program is as follows –
- Push the government to include uniform road safety syllabi in the school curriculum,
- School Zone safety audit with respect to IRC-32 code and identification of unsafe schools, ranking the unsafe schools from most unsafe to moderate, least unsafe, and safe school zones, displaying these rankings in a public portal for awareness of parents, citizens, and stakeholders so that necessary corrective action can be taken,
- Once vulnerabilities in the school zone are identified, the next step will be to build public opinion and exert pressure on school and administrative authorities for quick rectification to make school zones safe,
- Help school and civil authorities make School Zone safer by making necessary road markings, traffic signages, pedestrian crossings, speed-calming measures, footpaths, etc., by aligning corporate CSR funding for these works wherever possible,
- Approach all 15 lakh schools and convince them for the school zone audits,
- Capacity building for carrying out School Zone Audit by Online Training Module for training people on conducting school zone safety audits/surveys and reporting it on the School Zone Safety Portal,
- While school zones are being made safer, road safety awareness programs for children through plays, quizzes, skits, drawing competitions, cartoons, stories, etc.
Each school will receive a unique login ID to have all the information about the school’s road safety zone. This will help the relevant departments and school administration to ensure the application of road safety zone standards. The School Zone Safety compliance by Schools will be ranked based on the results of the Audit/Survey with color coding, enabling parents and citizens to identify and relate them with safer infrastructure. It is envisaged that the program will also hold the Authorities accountable for improving the infrastructure surrounding School Zones.
IRF-IC aims to conduct an Audit/Survey of all 15 lakh plus schools in the Country by 2025 and rank the schools based on adherence to the safety standards.
This will not only improve school zone safety, saving the lives of vulnerable children but will also educate and inculcate in them a sense of responsibility, fostering their growth as conscientious citizens.
In the pilot stage, we conducted a School Zone Safety Audit of four schools, and the findings underscored the need for immediate improvements in school zone safety. The four schools are as follows:
- Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi
- Blue Bells International School, GK-2, New Delhi
- Mahavir Senior Model School, Ashok Vihar, New Delhi
- Bal Bharati Public School, Dwarka Sec 12, New Delhi
- Modern Public School, Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi
2.Blue Bells School International, GK-2, New Delhi
As the next step, we are working closely with partners like 3M India to take over these schools and implement the necessary corrections identified during the audits. In collaboration with our partners, we aim to create safer environments for our students and ease the concerns of parents and guardians. Our collective responsibility is to provide an environment where children can focus on their education without worrying about potential hazards in their daily commute.
In conclusion, the audit of the four schools has highlighted the urgency of addressing safety concerns within their respective school zones. We are committed to implementing the necessary corrections and creating safe, secure, and welcoming student environments. School zone safety is not just a matter of policy; it is a commitment to the well-being and future of our children.