LAHORE - City traffic police department has asked the provincial government to insert a complete chapter of traffic education in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools in Punjab.

The move comes as police observed a record surge in road mishaps in this sprawling metropolis where people routinely flout traffic laws. Authorities believe that a full-fledged traffic education campaign must be launched from schools to educate the new generation about the importance of traffic laws and road safety measures.

Lahore’s chief traffic officer Rai Ejaz Ahmad forwarded two separate letters to the Secretary Schools Education Department on Thursday.

According to the letters (available with The Nation), the Punjab government has been requested that a complete chapter must be included in the syllabus of primary and secondary schools.

“The traffic control and management has become a complex issue because of lack of awareness among the masses. Rapid urbanization and record increase in the number of vehicles on roads in the recent years have also multiplied the problem.”

The letter further says, “More than 10 government departments are directly engaged in traffic regulations while some 15 other departments are indirectly contributing for this purpose. The schools education department can also play an important role by educating students and drivers of private vehicles being used to pick and drop the schoolchildren”.

The schools education department has also been asked to reactivate hundreds of Masters Trainers who were trained by the city traffic police department early this year.

“It is submitted that during the current year (in February), the city traffic police department in collaboration with Schools Education Department had trained at least 832 Master Trainers of all levels including SSE and ESE and primary schoolteachers, both male and female, regarding traffic education. The main objective behind the Master Trainers initiative was to impart traffic education to the students on a daily basis during zero-period and assembly sessions on the pattern of dengue campaign in Punjab.”

Since the traffic education teams of the city traffic police are unable to visit all schools in Lahore therefore, the already trained Master Trainers must be reactivated to achieve the desired results. The divisional education officers are asked to regroup the Master Trainers in order to launch a full-grown traffic education campaign across the province.

During a brief chat with The Nation on Thursday, SSP Rai Ejaz Ahmad said that collective efforts are need of the hour to reform and regulate the traffic movement in big cities.

He said that the Lahore traffic police ticketed at least 500,000 motorcycles for not wearing helmets this year so far. Similarly, at least 1.5 million drivers were issued fine tickets over violation of different traffic laws.

“We are also considering an increase in the amount of traffic fines so that the violators could be punished aggressively. Despite massive ticketing in the recent years, people routinely break traffic laws. So, we are going to take some concrete and exceptional measures in the near future,” the officer said.

Rai Ejaz Ahmed said that the new generation must be given proper education the about traffic laws and road safety measures. “We can build a civilized nation by educating our next generation. Schools are the best platform where children could be imparted training and education about traffic regulations,” the CTO said. “Unfortunately, traffic education is not included the schools syllabus so far in Pakistan.”

The city traffic police in recent months have observed that violations of different traffic laws were the major cause behind fatal accidents in Lahore where at least 300 people have been reported killed in road accidents this year so far.

Early this year, the department launched an awareness campaign to force the motorists to use seat-belts and helmets while driving. Tens of thousands of violators were ticketed in town but still may people don’t bother to use seat-belts or helmets, according to traffic officers. 

Driving through red-lights, violation of one-way traffic, rash or careless driving, use of mobile phone while driving, and turning left from far right lane are quite common in Lahore. A large number of underage drivers could be seen riding on two-wheelers on city roads.