‘Change of colour for school buses only cosmetic’

There are mixed responses to the Central notification to change the colour of school buses from cream yellow to golden yellow.

While not objecting to the new colour code for school buses and display of telephone numbers of the school and of the Motor Vehicles’ Department enforcement squad on the sides and rear, school managements have objected to the ‘haste’ at which the colour change was made mandatory.

Road safety experts opined that the colour code is only a cosmetic change, since both shades are different hues of yellow. “The colour change will bring about only marginal increase in the visibility of school vehicles. At the same time, the Central and State governments have not changed the black colour code of autorickshaws and brown for national permit lorries that make them hardly visible at night and in rainy or foggy weather,” said C.J. Johnson, an expert on road safety who has been advocating with policy makers to make bright colours mandatory for public transport vehicles and goods carriers.

Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules must change in keeping with the times since yellow colour autos are mandatory in many other States. Similarly, Central MV Rules must be amended so that national permit lorries are prescribed a new colour code, Mr Johnson said.

Reacting to the mandatory change of colour code for school vehicles, Indira Rajan, general secretary, Kerala CBSE School Managements’ Association, said that neither the association nor individual schools were informed about the new colour norm. “Once summer vacation began, many schools sent their vehicles to workshops to repaint them cream yellow, only to find a few weeks later that they had to paint them ‘golden yellow’ with a brown border. As a result, most of the over 10,000 school buses in the State have sought time till the next fitness test to abide by the Central notification.”

The Ernakulam Regional Transport Office was among the first to insist on the new colour code for school vehicles brought for fitness tests, said Joint RTO of Ernakulam Sadiq Ali. He said that a proper emergency door is mandatory for new school buses that are being registered. The emergency exit glass pane at the rear holds good only for older vehicles.

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