Railways worried about rising accidents at unmanned crossings

February 18th, 2009 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 18 (IANS) Faced with a growing number of accidents at unmanned level crossings involving school buses, the railway authorities have begun sensitising the bus drivers on the need for safety, an official said Wednesday.
“We have taken up the task of sensitising the people by visiting various educational institutions in the Ambala division. This is just the start of our drive and gradually we will be visiting schools in other regions,” said Vivek Sahay, general manager of Northern Railways, while addressing a press conference here Wednesday.

Admitting that the number of accidents involving school buses at unmanned railway crossings was high, Sahay said, “During our survey we found that there are nearly 72 unmanned railway crossings in the Ambala division and 221 school buses pass through these everyday.”

“Our representatives are going to various schools, meeting principals and doing the verification of drivers. We have found that 39 drivers were driving buses without any license. We have pleaded with school principals to recruit only qualified drivers with proper driving licence,” he said.

Sahay said officials were also speaking to school children and motivating them on the need to keep an eye on the driver’s behaviour and on the speed limit of the vehicle.

Two weeks ago, at least three children were killed and 13 injured when their school van collided with an engine at an unmanned rail crossing in Ferozepur district of Punjab, around 300 km from here.

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