Many school bus drivers drive dangerously, disregarding rules and safety guidelines. It may not always be possible for parents to accompany their child to school everyday – parents may have their own limitations. But I do not believe there is any valid reason for parents not putting their foot down against such risky transport options.
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Do these bus drivers even realise that they are putting the lives of these children in danger by jumping the median? Another big question is: Do the parents know this? The problem stems from the fact that we are apathetic to pretty much everything.
After all, these transport options exist, only because the parents utilise them. When we call the waiter and demand a replacement of a dish that we ordered, because we found a strand of hair in it, why can we not make similar demands here.
Isn’t the safety of our children more important than a strand of hair? Why do we allow ourselves to be taken for a ride, literally? Change has to come from within. I hope parents wake up and do something. How many of you are aware of the Supreme Court guidelines on school buses?
- ‘School Bus’ must be prominently written/displayed on the front and back of every vehicle carrying school children.
- If the vehicle is a hired bus, ‘On school duty’ should be prominently displayed.
- No bus belonging to an educational institution should carry children in excess of its permitted seating capacity.
- School bus must have a first aid box.
- Windows of the school bus must be fitted with horizontal grills/bars.
- Every school bus needs to be equipped with fire extinguisher.
- Every driver of a school bus must have a minimum of five years of experience in driving heavy vehicles and must not have any previous record of traffic offences.
- In addition to driver, there must be a qualified person in every school bus as provided in Rule 17 of Motor Vehicles Rules.
- There should be an escort from the school, preferably a teacher, in the bus to ensure safety.
I am sure we do not want more incidents like what happened with Abhilash, a 13-year-old schoolboy, who was killed when his school bus rammed a tree and rolled on its side down the road near Attibele on Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border in December 2010 or with B Kishore Kumar, a student of a government school, who was killed when a vehicle mowed him down on Hosur Road when he was returning home from school on January 28, 2011.
Let us stop thinking ‘It will not happen to us’ and start thinking ‘We will not allow anything like this to happen to our children’ ⊕