The traffic in Indian cities is quite turbulent. It is not uncommon for two lanes to become five, horns honking from all directions every second, and rickshaws and scooters squeezing through even the small gaps between cars and buses. In addition, there are countless people who travel either on bicycles or on foot and thus also do their bit to contribute to this orderly traffic chaos.
Awareness of traffic rules
Especially for children who often walk to school or ride bicycles, the road traffic of India, which with 1.42 billion inhabitants is the country with the second most inhabitants in the world, can be very challenging at times. A national study conducted on “Safe Commute to School” by Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI) in 2021 highlighted the lack of awareness regarding Road Safety, and enforcement of rules. It is therefore even more important to show the youngest road users at an early stage how to move prudently and safely on the road so as not to endanger themselves or other people.
Together with MobileKids, MBRDI has been committed to road safety education for schoolchildren for many years. Supplementing the program, 600 MBRDI volunteers spent close to 1600 hours with school students raising awareness and encouraging the importance of complying with traffic rules.
In the past twelve months, about 4500 children in 34 schools in the two metropolises of Bengaluru (Bangalore) and Pune were engaged thanks to the MobileKids program. As part of the special traffic education that is integrated into the timetable, the schoolchildren of the 4th, 5th and 6th grades are taught with the help of six tailor-made educational modules – each with the aim of lastingly changing their behavior on the roads.
Each child participates in a total of twelve hours of traffic education using interactive games and activities. Here, everything revolves around topics such as traffic signs and rules, travel safety and sustainable mobility. Collages were also created with the schoolchildren, street theatre plays about important traffic rules were developed, the safety features of the MobileKids school bus were presented, a road safety pledge was made and school bags were handed out.
More safety on India's roads
“I felt empowered spending time with the students of Government Higher Primary School, Belthur and having a dialogue with them on Road Safety. Through the various activities, the students were encouraged to critically analyze and share their own personal experiences commuting in the city. As daily road users, our goal is to get the students to think about solutions and ways in which they can contribute towards safer roads. It was a thoroughly enjoyable and rewarding experience and I’m looking forward to more such opportunities", said one of the MBRDI volunteers.
To date, the program has reached around 25,000 school children across India since its launch in 2018, making a huge difference to safety on Indian roads.