ABU DHABI // Parents voiced renewed concerns about school transport on Thursday after a crash involving two school buses left 47 people injured.
Some were worried about bus drivers not taking sufficient precautions to stay safe in traffic, while others feared the habits of motorists sharing the road with school buses.
Subramoniam S, 48, an electronics engineer in Abu Dhabi whose daughter uses a school bus, said bus drivers must be cautious.
“School bus drivers should keep their passengers safe and secure, and be wary of public bus transport drivers,” he said.
Pradnya, a parent of a five-year-old from Dubai, said hearing about the crash was worrying.
“It is not only the duty of the bus driver to be careful, but other people on the road should take extra caution when they see a school bus,” she said.
School transport safety has been overhauled since the death of three-year-old Nizaha Aalaa in October 2014.
The girl died of heat exhaustion after being locked inside a school bus. The KG-1 pupil’s death forced her school, Al Worood Academy Private School, to close, and a court ordered the Abu Dhabi school, its principal and the bus driver and supervisor to pay Dh100,000 in blood money. Afterwards, schools were urged to use government-authorised bus operators and conduct regular checks on vehicles and drivers, as well as report safety breaches.
Emirates Transport and Abu Dhabi Educational Council also launched an initiative to include daily bus safety inspections, regular maintenance, a manual pupil checking system, a disciplinary system to ensure students’ behaviour does not affect their safety and that of others, as well as cameras and tracking systems to identify the cause of accidents and detect offences by drivers or students.
More than 1,000 buses were fitted with a device that counts the number of children getting on and off. A motion sensor detects movement inside a parked bus, and is connected to a system that triggers an alarm if someone remains on board. A check button at the back of the bus forces the driver to walk down the aisle and verify that each seat had been vacated before he can press it.
Meanwhile, all Dubai school buses were fitted with electronic tracking systems using GPS to monitor their location.
The Dubai Roads and Transport Authority also said that each bus must be equipped with two fire extinguishers, two attendants and two first aid kits.
It also banned the use of minibuses for school transport.
Source: uae news