In an attempt to ensure the safe ride of school kids to their respective destinations, the State Transport Authority (STA) has sought the cooperation of guardians and parents, appealing to them to check the fitness of vehicles ferrying children and abide by Motor Vehicle law.
It is the school management’s responsibility to ensure that Supreme Court guidelines for plying of school buses are complied with, STA said in an official statement on Sunday.
‘Policy on Transportation of School Children’ framed in 2016 should be strictly enforced. The school management should make sure that their buses are in order. They should ensure drivers are well trained and they have a valid driving license”, it asked.
“The issue of safety of school children’s transportation can not be taken lightly. The concerned school bus operators and school managements are responsible for the inconvenience to students if any.” Sanjay Biswal, Joint Commissioner Transport, Road Safety said.
In the ongoing week-long special drive, so far around 1096 vehicles engaged in transporting school students in the State have been penalized for flouting road safety rules. It is a matter of serious concern that 820 vehicles were plying without fitness certificates, 387 vehicles did not have valid permits and 311 drivers did not have valid Driving Licenses, he informed.
“The safety of children is paramount. No vehicle can ply without absolute compliance with the safety laws. While the drivers have been punished and fines have been imposed, the overall responsibility still lies with the school. The school authorities cannot turn a blind eye to this. It is their responsibility to ensure that drivers are physically fit and have a proper driving license to ferry school children.”
Similarly, schools that are engaging buses on contractual/ hire basis shall abide by the stipulations as applicable to the buses owned by the school. School authorities should conduct safety audits of these vehicles as well.
As per the guidelines, all the vehicles engaged in ferrying school children must have CCTV cameras, GPS trackers, first-aid boxes, proper grills, emergency exit, and fire extinguishers. They should maintain a list of students and their parents’ names and numbers. There must be an attendant from the school on the bus.