3% of school bus drivers underwent police verification

The study also proposes measures to ensure the safety of commuters, particularly children, on the Indian roads. File photo

Only 3% of school bus drivers in Bengaluru have undergone thorough police verification at the time of appointment, the lowest among the metropolitan cities in India, says a report by Save Life Foundation.

This brings into question the safety of children going to over 4,000 schools in the city, which saw more than 1,500 cases booked against school bus drivers per year.

The numbers prompted the city police commissioner to order the daily drunk test for drivers in 2016. Besides drunk driving, school bus drivers have been booked for reckless driving and overloading vehicles.

The findings are part of the report by Save Life Foundation, which undertook a study with carmaker Nissan in which 6,000 respondents, including cab and school bus drivers, parents and adolescents, across 11 cities took part.

In Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai, eight out of 10 respondents said they underwent police verification.

“In Bengaluru, the percentage of drivers who affirmed to having been verified was as low as 3%. While 76% drivers of private bus/van said they had undergone a police verification, this figure was 63% for drivers of school bus/van,” the report said.

This reflected in the parent’s opinion about road safety in view of their children’s commute between home and school.

City statistics

In Bengaluru, 73.50% of parents felt the roads were unsafe for their children.

The city fares poorer than Chennai (64.60%) and Kolkata (65.70%). Only Panaji fared better where the number of such parents was about 40%.

The study also throws light on the poor awareness among most of the drivers and passengers regarding the use of rear seat belt. Save Life Foundation cites a WHO study to claim that wearing rear seatbelt reduces the probability of being killed in an accident by 25% and injuries by 75%.

In the survey, 71% of four-wheeler users confirmed the availability of rear seat belt in their vehicles but only 7% said they use it regularly. “Respondents in Chennai led in terms of awareness (94%) while those in Bengaluru led in terms of usage of rear seatbelts (45%),” the study said.

Safety measures

The study also proposes measures to ensure the safety of commuters, particularly children, on the Indian roads.

The recommendations include mandatory annual road safety audit around school zones, stringent license system, especially for school vehicle drivers and public transport drivers and the need for stringent child road safety laws.

It also stresses the need for collaboration between school authorities and parents to make child zones risk-free and inclusion of road safety in the school curriculum.

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3% of school bus drivers underwent police verification

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