Most vehicles ferrying kids fail to follow safety norms

Operators care little about Safe School Vahan Scheme

Most vehicles ferrying kids fail to follow safety norms

Manmeet Singh Gill

Tribune News Service

Amritsar, February 18

Most of the vehicle operators are not abiding by safety norms. A mere look at vehicles transporting schoolchildren reveals that most operators just paint their vehicles in golden yellow colour as prescribed in the Safe School Vahan Scheme.

An overloaded autorickshaw ferries schoolchildren in Amritsar on Tuesday. Tribune photo: Vishal Kumar

Some of the vehicles even do not carry telephone numbers of drivers and schools, which can enable residents to report incidents of rash driving. Further, the horizontal safety grills on windows, the emergency door at the rear, speed governors, hydraulic doors, CCTVs, female attendants in case there are girlstudents, etc, too are missing in most vehicles.

The scheme makes it mandatory to ensure that drivers and conductors wear uniform, have a minimum of five-year experience of driving, etc. Norms regarding the maximum carrying capacity are not violated.

One can see many of the school buses have the registration plates of other states or small towns. “It has been going on for years. Bus operators purchase old buses from other states and get the number plates of small towns. Later, these are operated in the city,” said a school bus driver on condition of anonymity.

Residents and the administration would surely remember the September 20, 2016, accident near Mahawa village in the district. A bus had fallen into a drain. Seven children had lost their lives in the accident. Apart from other shortcomings, the bus even did not have proper seats and instead children were made to sit on wooden planks fixed for the purpose.

Meanwhile, traffic police officials visited various schools in city on Tuesday and held meetings with school managements and bus operators. They said managements and operators had been informed about the safety norms and given a warning. They said the schools had alsobeen told to ask parents to not send their children in vehicles which did not fulfil safety requirements.


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