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How Safe are Our Children in School Bus?

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children” – Nelson Mandela. The rising rate of school bus accidents has now become a nightmare for all. The revelation about children safety will definitely never make the country proud.  If statistics have to be believed 20 children are killed every day in road accidents in India. Isn’t the figure shocking? What might be the reason for the increasing school bus accidents? Is it due to the carelessness of the driver, the school authorities or the parent itself?

India needs strict laws to reduce child fatalities in road accidents. It was found that most of the accidents occur due to the bad condition of school buses or due to the inexperience of driver’s. The Supreme Court has given clear guidance on the experience a school bus driver should possess.  Often faulty roads have also become the major factor for road accidents.

Let’s have a look at the rules to be followed by school buses in India as per the Supreme Court:

  1. School buses should be painted yellow.
  2. ‘School Bus’ must be written on the back and front of the bus. If it is a hired bus, ‘On School Duty’ should be clearly indicated.
  3. The bus must have a First-Aid-Box.
  4. The windows of the bus must be fitted with horizontal grills.
  5. There must be a fire extinguisher in the bus.
  6. The doors of the bus should be fitted with reliable locks.
  7. The driver should have at least 5 years of experience in driving heavy vehicles.
  8. There must be a qualified attendant in the school bus to attend to the children.
  9. School cabs should be fit with speed governors with maximum speed limit of 40 kph.
  10. Seat belts wherever applicable must be fastened properly.

What should be done to prevent accidents?

If the rules are followed strictly, accident rate can be minimized. It is not the sole responsibility of school authorities to monitor these rules.  The parents, the pedestrians, everyone who uses the road has the responsibility to check whether the rules are followed correctly. If any violation is noticed it should be reported to the authorities. School authorities must regularly check the condition of the bus.  Moreover, speed governors must be installed in school buses to reduce the accident rate caused by overspeeding.

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