Arun A.G. and Haripriya urge us to consider these measures to ensure the safety of children traveling in school buses.
We are writing this based on a video which one of us watched as part of ‘Road Safety Week’. The video was about how school buses must be driven safely. In one scene, due to the driver’s rash driving, a student hits her head on the bar of the seat in front of her, and gets injured. The video was all about correcting the driver. At the end of the video, the driver becomes responsible. The video conveyed an interesting message.
However, one thought came to our minds.
Why are we still reluctant about making seat belts compulsory in school buses?
Representational image. Photo source: Flickr/shankar s.
After all, we are an educated and modern society. We are all aware about the need of seat belts. Those who travel in cars should compulsorily wear seat belts now, otherwise they have to pay penalty. Prohibition of driving under the influence of alcohol and compulsory usage of helmet also ensure the safety of passengers.
Then why do we never ensure the safety of our children?
Just think about how unsafe their daily commute in the school bus is. Schools levy a huge fee for using the school bus. Here are some essential measures that have to be implemented in school buses to ensure the safety of our children.
1) Insist on seat belts and hand straps
Providing seat belts and hand straps are never a huge burden for school authorities. In fact, it is their responsibility. However, most of parents don’t insist on such measures. Implementing these features will reduce risk and create a safe travel atmosphere.
2) Have a responsible caretaker
Each school bus should have a caretaker in it. The primary responsibility of the caretaker must be to ensure the safety of children. He/she should watch over the children and ensure all safety features are in place and are working.
3) Have an experienced driver
The school authorities should make sure that the drivers have a proper license and enough experience. Most accidents occur due to the careless attitude of the driver. A background check of the drivers should be made compulsory.
4) Install speed governors
Speed governors should be made mandatory in school buses. The provision to increase speed is a catalyst for rash driving. Speed governors will control and limit the speed, thus reducing the temptation to drive rashly.
5) Service the vehicle regularly
School buses need to be regularly serviced. The driver should check the bus every day and make sure that
the vehicle is in good condition.
6) Maintaining a proper student-seat ratio
Representational image. Photo source: Flickr/Maureen Barlin
The school authorities have to maintain a proper student-seat ratio. Students should only be admitted, according to the seats available. This will make the travel comfortable for them. Buses shouldn’t be overcrowded.
7) Emergency dialing number
Representational image. Photo source: Flickr/Arti Sandhu
Every school bus should display emergency dialing numbers both inside and outside the bus. The numbers can include the contact of school authorities, police control room, ambulance etc. This will make it easier to seek help, in the event of an accident. Others can also use these numbers to report rash driving.
8) Provide emergency exits
The inclusion of an emergency exit should be made mandatory in every bus. This will be of help to the students during an emergency.
9) Install GPS System
This measure can increase reliability. The school authorities can track the bus as and when required. Proper monitoring ensures safe driving and travel.
10) Designated entry and exit doors
Every school should ensure proper entry and exit points. This will ensure a uniform practice of safe boarding and will avoid the unwanted rush to exit the vehicle. The caretaker must be responsible to ensure this process.
11) First aid kit and training
It should be made mandatory to include a first aid box with adequate medicines and other supplementary products in the bus. The box has to be regularly checked and properly maintained. It is also important to ensure that the caretaker has undergone proper first aid training.
It is a popular societal character to weep after casualties. Later, we blame the authorities. Dear society, our next cry should not be over the lives of our children.
(We wholeheartedly appreciate and thank all the schools that have taken these safety measures into consideration.)