Road safety remains a critical developmental challenge and a significant public health issue worldwide. According to WHO, India contributes a disproportionately high number of road traffic fatalities, with at least one out of 10 global road crash deaths occurring in the country. In 2021 alone, India reported a staggering 412,432 road accidents, resulting in 153,972 fatalities and 384,448 injuries (India Ministry of Road Transport and Highways). These statistics underscore the urgent need for comprehensive road safety measures to prevent further loss of life and injuries on India’s roads.

To enhance road safety particularly for school children, Évitez les accidents initiated the “Safe Schools Secure Journeys” project in collaboration with Local Administration and District Road Safety Committee Mohali in Punjab. Out of assessed schools, three schools underwent upgrades, receiving support from 3M, NHAI et MC Mohali.

Government Senior Secondary School in Lalru: Located on National Highway 152, connecting Zirakpur/Mohali- Ambala, the school faced a hazardous situation with high operating speeds and a lack of crossing facilities. Compounding the issue, most students resided across the highway and needed to cross it to reach the school. To address this safety concern, a safe footbridge was installed by National Highway Authority of India, to facilitate the secure crossing of students, significantly enhancing their safety. As a result of this intervention, the school’s safety rating increased substantially from 3.3 stars to an impressive 5.4 stars.

Government Senior Secondary School for Girls Sohana in Mohali: Located on State Highway 12A crossing the city, the school faced challenges due to its surroundings, characterized by commercial areas on both sides of the road and constant heavy traffic flow. The undivided road layout and no speed calming measures posed a risk as drivers often overlooked the presence of the school and its students. To address these safety concerns, several features were implemented. Three sets of rumble strips were installed on both sides of the road, along with zigzag yellow markings leading to the school gate. Additionally, two zebra crossings equipped with studs were added around the school gate to enhance visibility and alert drivers to pedestrian crossings. The upgrades made the school entrance improve from 1.0 stars to 3.2 stars.

The Government Senior Secondary School in Sohera: The school is located on National Highway 205, connecting Kharar/Chandigarh to Kurali/Amritsar. Situated at a four-arm junction near the end of a flyover, the primary issue faced here is the high speed of vehicles passing by. Complicating matters, the majority of students reside on the opposite side of the school, necessitating road crossings. To address these safety concerns, 3M India supported the installation of various necessary facilities, including prominent school zone signs displaying school timings and speed limits, road studs, bus stop signs, pick-up/drop-off signs, school name boards, and even informative signboards within the school premises to raise awareness among children. Furthermore, the National Highway Authority of India has taken measures to improve safety, installing a traffic signal and a set of rumble strips at the junction to regulate speed, manage traffic, and facilitate pedestrian movement.

About Avoid Accident: Évitez les accidents is an India road safety NGO focusing on enhancing road safety infrastructure around schools in the country. The organization has forged partnerships with various stakeholders, particularly governments and corporates, to advocate for safe school zones in India. Avoid Accident has achieved significant success in advocating for major policy change of implementing low speed limit of 25 km/h in the vicinity of schools across several states in India. The organization has received national recognition for road safety from the Union government of India and is a member of UNICEF India’s National Program of Road Safety for Children and Adolescents, working on a national program for children’s safety on roads. Avoid Accident also received the FedEx International Road Safety Award and served as a leading partner for SR4S Quality Review in India.