Spurt in drunk-driving by school bus drivers

Parents worried as cops arrest 5 drivers for offence in last 3 days

Spurt in drunk-driving by school bus drivers

The Bengaluru traffic police on Wednesday arrested two private school van drivers for driving under the influence of alcohol.

Ananda, a resident of Yelahanka who was working as a driver at Narayana Techno School in Attur Layout (Yelahanka Newtown), was arrested by the police when he was on his way to drop children home. As he approached Palanahalli gate, he lost control over the vehicle, brushed past a car and fled.

Ananda, who was frightened that he would be beaten up by the public, was driving the vehicle at top speed. Sunil, the car driver, chased the van for a few metres and stopped it. He asked Ananda to get down from the vehicle and they started arguing. Sunil realised that the van driver was drunk and informed the police.

The van driver was made to undergo breathalyser test and was found drunk beyond permissible limits. Based on the complaint filed by Sunil, he was arrested. He was booked for rash and negligent driving and also for drunk-driving, the police said.

In Whitefield, a 35-year-old driver of a bus belonging to Delhi Public School in Mallasandra was booked for drunk-driving. The police said Ramachandra was on his way to drop children to school. As he was nearing the school, he brushed past a car.

The public alerted the Whitefield traffic police, who came to the spot and found the driver drunk beyond permissible limits. There were around 25 children in the bus when the accident took place. He was booked and told to pay penalty in the court.

It is the responsibility of the school managements to ensure that they hire disciplined drivers. The school managements have been summoned and they will be asked to terminate the services of the drivers, police said.

Parents anxious

In the last three days, five school bus drivers have been arrested for drunk-driving. This has caused concern among the parents.

For Rajesh Nair, a resident of Jayanagar whose daughter studies at a school near Residency Road, these incidents have come as a shock. “The schools seem to be doing no background check of the drivers,” he said.

Anita Makharia, another parent, said that the schools had to take responsibility for the children’s safety.

“Most schools have their transport outsourced to other agencies,” she said, questioning as to who would be held responsible in case of a tragedy. She said that there was a need for schools to do a thorough background check, before hiring drivers.

“Despite knowing the norms, if someone drinks on duty, it is unacceptable. They must be given ID cards. Parents must also be alert to check the drivers for drunk-driving when they come to pick students. It is ideal for these buses to have CCTV cameras,” she said.

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