A day after an 8-year-old boy from Panchkula succumbed to injuries from a road accident, the Chandigarh traffic police on Thursday said they will soon initiate an awareness drive in the city shortly to urge people to adopt all safety measures for children travelling by two-wheelers and cars.
SSP (traffic), Chandigarh, Shashank Anand, said, “The Motor Vehicles (Driving) Regulations, 2017, bars people from carrying children under 14 years on their laps on two-wheelers and in the front seats of four-wheelers. However, people are not aware of these guidelines. Carrying two children on a two-wheeler is a clear violation of traffic rules and amounts to triple riding. We will shortly launch an awareness drive in this direction. Even in 2018, I personally attempted to engage the Indian Medical Association (IMA) in conducting an awareness drive that focused on safety of children. However, it could not materialise.”
He further said, “I have received feedback regarding security of children in interactions with parents and senior citizens. If parents compel their wards to wear safety gear while cycling, then why not while they are travelling on two-wheelers? Child safety seats are available in the market, along with light-weight helmets.”
Another traffic police officer said, “We have decided to start this awareness drive first at nursing homes. We will urge new parents to secure infants in child safety seats rather than carrying them in their laps, which is the most dangerous way to carry a child on a moving vehicle.”
In March 2017, two-year-old Ekam, who was on his grandfather Balak Ram’s lap in the front seat of a car, died after the vehicle rammed into a road divider between Sector 16/17, Chandigarh. While others sustained minor injuries, Ekam succumbed to head wounds at PGI, Chandigarh.
Road safety expert Navdeep Asija said, “Though two studies held in Ludhiana show that motor vehicle riders become more conscious whenever they observe a child pillion-rider on two-wheelers and cars, drivers maintain that people should not carry their wards on two-wheelers.”
In Panchkula, two children, including a four-year-old girl and a nine-year-old boy, died of injuries after the two-wheelers they were on met with accidents over the last four days. Both were on their guardians’ laps. Chandigarh has also witnessed several incidents in which children riding pillion have been killed.