Need for a policy on fixing life span for vehicles voiced by senior officials of transport department, writes R. Krishnamoorthy

Last week’s death of a six-year-old girl in Chennai, who was killed after slipping through the hole of the school bus she was travelling in, has prompted managements of educational institutions to do a reality check on the safety norms they are expected to adhere to while transporting students.

Following the incident, Collector Jayashree Muralidharan convened a meeting of representatives of educational institutions and sensitised them to their responsibilities in the presence of officials of education and transport department. Officials could gauge that the knowledge of the management representatives of educational institutions was confined to the limited understanding of the rules by the drivers in their employment.

Booklets and CDs on safety parameters distributed by the transport authorities to the participants of the meeting were much informative for parents. On their part, parents need to realise the importance of sending their children to pick-up points at the right time. In the event of delay at a few boarding points en route the school, drivers tend to make up for the lost time by over speeding and thereby create situations for accidents, S. Balasubramaniam, Regional Transport Officer, Tiruchi, said.

Despite practical difficulties in intercepting transport vehicles of schools and colleges, motor vehicle inspectors attached to Regional Transport Office, Tiruchi, cancelled the fitness certificates of 19 buses in the process of determining road worthiness. They carried out the checks to determine if there was any damage to the platform due to acid leakage from battery, rust in the wheel arch or air leakage. The educational institutions were instructed to set right the damage, and told strictly that the buses could be used only after rectification of the shortcomings.

There is, however, little that the transport department is able to do when educational institutions utilise condemned buses for the purpose of transporting students after re-hauling and refurbishing the vehicles. According to official sources, there is no policy on condemning buses owned by transport corporations. Depending on their financial conditions, transport corporations condemn the buses earlier or later, on the basis of kilometers run.

The need for a policy on fixing life span for transport vehicles was being voiced by senior officials of transport department at meetings convened by the newly formed transport regulation committee, official sources added.