The recent incident where an innocent life of a young student was lost due to negligence by the school transport has brought to light once again the serious safety lapses that are very prevalent today. As a mother of a 8 year old I am really scared at times even when I take all the required precautions and measures for her safety, yet not sure about what happens at school. Commercialization is in full swing across where safety is the least thought about. Every day there is some such incident or the other where children have to pay. We should surely push for stronger safety measures and checks, school bus transportation safety being one of them
Guidelines to make school bus transportation safe
GPS trackers assist in tracking the school bus routes and also notify in case of any discrepancies. This helps both schools and parents to keep a watch on the school buses and kids. The schools can ask parents to download the GPS tracker app so that they are updated about their children by keeping track of the school bus
MANDATORY PRESENCE OF A CONDUCTOR AND A SUPPORT STAFF
To ensure that the students board and alight from the bus safely a support staff and a conductor should always be present in the bus. If the bus is dropping the student on the other side of the road then the support staff should make the student cross the road and not let the student do it alone. Care should be taken to ensure that the students are collected by their respective parents or guardians once they have alighted from the bus.
To avoid accidents being caused due to low visibility especially during winters reflective tapes are a must on school buses. Other vehicles can maintain a safe distance from the bus due to the reflectors as the buss can be spotted from a distance.
TRAINING THE DRIVERS
All the school bus drivers should undergo proper training on handling students and situations in the bus. This training should be conducted periodically by the school. A person can be very efficient in driving but as a school bus driver one needs to be know how to handle children and make quick decisions when required. The drivers should also be trained upon the required safety measures and precautions that are absolutely necessary. The school bus driver has the sole responsibility of the safety of students outside the school campus.
SAFETY EDUCATION TO STUDENTS
It is very important to educate the students about the safety measures that they need to take while commuting. The school bus has a mix of students from all age groups and hence it becomes all the more important to teach them about the required safety rules and regulations .The children should be aware of the do’s and don’ts while travelling in the bus . Behaving well in the bus, to remain seated and not move or jump around, not to stick their head or hands out of the windows, boarding and alighting from the bus one when it stops being some of them .This would ensure minimising accidents and making safety the top priority by educating and empowering the students.
EMERGENCY EVACUATION TRAINING & EQUIPMENTS
All schools should provide adequate training in emergency evacuation of a school bus in case of an emergency situation to all including the students, drivers and support staff. The buses should also be equipped with proper safety gadgets like first-aid boxes, finger extinguishers and glass breaking hammers which should checked regularly as well.
PARENTS SHOULD ALSO ENSURE SAFETY
It is also important and the responsibility of parents to educate their children about the basic safety norms and also ensure that there is no negligence on their part. They should be at the pick-up and drop point on time so that the school bus does not have to wait for long and make the driver drop off the child alone
The school should be very strict in monitoring these school bus transport safety guidelines and also make sure that everyone including the drivers, students and support staff follows them
It is imperative for the school to provide safe transportation facility to its students the same way it ensures top quality education. This is why schools should pay equal attention to school bus transportation. As parents and guardians it is also our duty and responsibility to support schools in this by educating our children about the basic safety norms. We should also be proactive step forward and raise the concern if the school is not following the basic safety guidelines. Let us not wait for another such incident to start and make safety a priority for our children.