Kochi: Educational institutions cannot wash off their hands any more if contract carriage vehicles such as auto-rickshaws and taxis are crammed with students above the permitted load.
Schools have been directed to maintain proper records indicating the name and address of students travelling in each vehicle.
The motor vehicle department (MVD) is set to inspect these records after visiting each institution when the schools reopen next month.
"Maintaining records will help identify students when a mishap takes place. But our real intention is to check overloading. Jam-packed auto-rickshaws and taxis with backpacks of children bulging out of windows are a regular sight these days," said a senior MVD official.
Last year, the state government asked schools to form safety councils to maintain norms following a series of mish-aps involving overloaded vehicles, especially in Thiruvananthapuram district.
As per the MVD rules, a child over 12 years should be accommodated in a single seat while a seat can be shared by two students below that age. But both private carriages and school buses flout the rules.
"Despite manpower shortage, checking vehicles for overloading will be intensified this time. Stringent measures such as cancellation of registration and suspension of driver’s license will be taken," he said.
There are only MVD field officers for 80 lakh school buses. The MVD will also inspect all school buses to assess their running conditions and conduct a one-day training class for drivers on safety. The exercise will take place on May 23 in Ernakulam district.