Buses undergo fitness tests at RTOs
The Motor Vehicles Department (MVD) will make an urgent effort to enforce the rules strictly and check speeding of vehicles carrying schoolchildren.
With another academic year to begin in a week, the State Transport Commissioner has asked all the Regional Transport Officers to ensure the safety of children being transported to educational institutions.
The MVD officials have been asked to keep tabs on educational institution buses (EIBs) and private vehicles in which the children are ferried to ensure that there is no crowding and that the permit conditions are followed. The speed limit for the EIBs is 40 km/hour.
At the certificate of fitness test venues across the State, EIBs were seen in large numbers as the day of reopening of educational institutions is nearing.
The MVD officials told The Hindu that they had ensured that the permit conditions such as speed governors and shutters for doors were adhered to when the EIBs were produced for fitness test.
Another permit condition that was closely looked into was the emergency exit. The emergency exit has to be fitted at the rear windscreen and it should be prominently inscribed in red colour on a white background, both inside and outside.
Those running the EIBs and managing it will have to ensure that space is earmarked for keeping schoolbags and other materials. An able-bodied helper should man each door for the safe boarding, carriage, and alighting of students.
The number of passengers being ferried in the bus should not exceed the limitation prescribed in Rule 221 of the Kerala Motor Vehicle Rules.
As per rules, two children below 13 years can be accommodated on a seat.
Thus, vehicles transporting children can accommodate double the allowed capacity. But, even the EIBs of reputed schools ferry more children and complain when they are booked.
The MVD personnel and the police will also have to ensure that the drivers are trained and have a minimum experience of 10 years. As per rules, the driver of the bus should not have the history of punishment at any time for rash and negligent driving or for drunk-driving.
The school authorities and office-bearers of the Parent-Teacher Association have been asked to observe the behaviour and nature of the services rendered by the crew of educational institution buses.