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Monday, April 18, 2011

First aid kits, attendants on all school buses from now

State issues a comprehensive must-have list for school buses; autorickshaws cannot carry more than four students

First aid kits, fire extinguishers, a speed limit of 40 kmph... these are some of the rules that will make your child's school bus ride a lot safe beginning the academic season in June. It took the State two years to finalise the guidelines for school buses.
    Issued recently, the guidelines say all school buses should be painted yellow. The buses should not be older than eight years, and 15 years for those running on CNG. Regular checks will ensure the drivers carry vehicle permission documents, safety and no-pollution certificates and firefighting equipment.
    The State had promised guidelines for school vehicles after five children died and 21 others were injured when a school bus caught fire in Airoli, Navi Mumbai in 2009. Investigations revealed the vehicle flouted many norms, and a fuel leak sparked the fire. The vehicle owner, driver and an attendant were booked for negligence.

    The State has now ruled that school buses must have details of students using the service, their address and contact numbers, and blood group details. Drivers should have at least five years of experience handling heavy vehicles, and all buses should have on board a male and a female attendant.
    To ensure students are not troubled while getting off the vehicles, the State has directed the Regional
Transport Authority (RTA) to provide school buses parking lots and stoppages in consultation with the schools. Drivers failing to park at designated spots will be penalised, and children in kindergarten will be taken back to the playgroup if their guardians fail to pick them up at the stop.
    Regarding vehicle specifications, all buses should be made of steel. The front and rear mirrors are a must along with hand rails along the steps, and overhead containers to keep the bags. Vehicles will be fitted with speed and sound monitoring devices.
    A district-level committee headed by the Police Commissioner and aided by a civic official not below the rank of deputy commissioner, a general manager of the city transport unit, and a deputy RTO will ensure buses follow the norms.
    Every school will have a committee as well, headed by the principal, a representative from the parentsteachers association, a policeman from the area, an RTO inspector, a civic body official and a representative of the vehicle owner will interact with the State-appointed panel to make the home-school-home commute smoother.
    Autorickshaws ferrying children to schools are not banned, but they cannot carry more than four students, the State ruled.

» Carry first aid kits » Have at least two fire extinguishers » Be painted yellow » Be less than eight years old, and 15 in case of those running on CNG » Carry documents, including safety and no-pollution certificates » Have details of students including their address and contact numbers, and blood group details » Drivers should have at least five years of experience handling heavy vehicles » All buses should have on board a male and a female attendant » Not travel above 40 kmph » Have Overhead containers for bags

A school bus that had caught fire on Aug 20, 2009 on the Sion-Panvel highway



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