Accidents show children at peril on road to school

 The death of two persons, including a teenage student, in as many accidents with school buses in the City on Thursday has once again exposed the danger to children who travel by school buses on a daily basis.

These accidents occurred a month after a school bus mowed down a schoolboy who had just alighted from it.

While the transport department and the Regional Transport Offices (RTOs) have been regularly cracking down on school buses found involved in speeding, rash driving, missing safety norms, using wrong number plates, etc, the measure appears to have had little impact on the violators who continue to flout the norms with impunity.

Last month, the transport department seized 10 school buses and cabs found violating the safety norms. While some buses were found using LPG as fuel, others had crammed schoolchildren beyond the capacity or were unfit for school duty.

During a recent drive, the department booked 35 cases against school vehicles for various violations such as ferrying students of another school, not installing an emergency exit, not having first aid kits and ferrying more children than the stipulated capacity.

Educational institutions, however, insist that parents prefer sending their wards by school vehicles or even private cabs as they pick them up and drop home.

An official of the transport department told Deccan Herald, “Even though we have been conducting regular drives against violations by the buses, certain responsibility also lies with school authorities and parents.

First and foremost, parents should ensure they send their wards by vehicles which have adequate safety norms. Secondly, schools must ensure that private vehicles hired to ferry children are in good shape and have trained drivers.”

The Karnataka United School and Light Motor Vehicle Drivers’ Union has, however, claimed that drivers affiliated to it were not involved in many accidents.

“We have been regularly creating awareness among our drivers for safe driving. It is often school-owned vehicles and not ours which are involved in accidents,” its president, Shanmugam P S, said.

He added that the union had readied four vehicles to get school permits from the Jayanagar RTO.

“The transport department had asked all schools to set up transport committees to address the safety issues of children but no school has complied. The department should take note of it,” Shanmugam added.

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