NEW DELHI: Absence of specific data on road accidents and deaths of school children is preventing the government from formulating a policy on school transport, a senior official said.
“We account for about 11 per cent of road fatalities across the world. About seven per cent of the deaths that occur in the country is…(of those children which are) below 18 (years)… In absence of data, we are really failing to make our policies,” Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) Joint Secretary Abhay Damle said here.
He was speaking during a two-day conference on the ‘Formulation of Draft Policy for the Safety of Transporting School Children’.
“This number of seven per cent is 10,000 deaths in absolute numbers… But, in absence of data, we don’t have an exact number as to how many of them are due to accidents because of their commute towards education (institutions) (by) the school transportation,” he said.
The Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), a research-based organisation which works on road safety, also admitted there has been a policy apathy towards deaths of children in road accidents.
“We do not know that how many out of this 10,000 reported deaths were by school buses. We have no idea. But, all we know is 10,000 children below the age of 18 die in India every year,” IRTE President Rohit Baluja said.
“Two hundred and fifty million vehicles are registered today in the country. Less than one per cent are buses. How many are school buses, how children are travelling, we don’t know. How many are walking, bicycling…we don’t know, so there is a lack of data. So, here we begin the work to say let’s develop a policy where we can develop data,” he said.
Date: November 13, 2019