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5 children injured as van falls into pit

Staff Reporter

Driver was on leave and a mechanic replaced him


Need for strict adherence to road safety rules brought into focus


CHENNAI: A school van fell into a pit in Vanagaram on Monday, injuring five children. The van driver, who was a mechanic, was arrested and remanded.

A. Murali, Inspector of Police (Traffic Investigation), Poonamallee, said the original driver of the vehicle was on leave and the mechanic, S. Sreenivas of Nerkundram, replaced him.

However, Srinivas was not holding a valid licence, he said. Police sources said about 15 children, who were picked up from St. Thomas School in the area, were travelling in the van. Around 3 p.m., the driver had a tough time negotiating the narrow road near Siva Boodam Medu, when he lost control of the vehicle and it fell into a pit, police said.

According to the police, the children were admitted to Sri Ramachandra hospital, Porur, where they were treated and later discharged.

Sources in the private hospital said that 10 children in the 8-13 age group were admitted. No visible injuries were seen but some parents insisted that a CT scan be done on the children. The incident has once again brought to light the need for strict adherence to enforcement of road safety rules, particularly with regard to transportation of schoolchildren.

An official from the Transport Department said guidelines issued by the Supreme Court have been sent to schools and that they are conducting regular checks on vehicles.

“Schools should also be vigilant. They should periodically check whether the authorised persons were driving the vans, carrying children,” he said.

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