Many cabs and buses openly flout rules pertaining to transportation of school children

Cramped autos, cabs and buses ferrying students squeezed into the vehicle along with their schools bags is a common sight in the city. This is despite a Supreme Court ruling in this regard, which resulted in the Karnataka Motor Vehicles (conditions for vehicles engaged in transport of school children) Rules, 2012.

The death of Namitha, an eight-year-old girl who was crushed to death by a school van outside her house in Chandra Layout on Wednesday, comes even as many school cabs and buses openly flout the rules.

The most common violation, traffic police authorities say, is overloading. The rules specify that the number of children in the vehicle should not exceed one and half times the permitted seating capacity if the children are below 12 years. Each child above 12 should be treated as one person.

As per statistics, (from January 1 to June 18, 2014), a total of 954 cases have been booked in Bangalore against school cabs, including autos, for carrying children beyond the permissible limit. However, a Regional Transport Officer in Bangalore conceded that violations are rampant and there is a need to raise awareness among all the stakeholders, including parents, schools managements and cab or bus drivers.

The rules also specify formation of a School Cabs Safety Committee, which should comprise parents, private cab drivers and school staff, in each institution to look into safety aspects, transportation fee and identification of bus stops.

However, many school heads in the city did not appear to be even aware of this.

The police have not only slapped a heavy fine on offenders but also seized the permits and sent them to the Transport Department recommending suspension. Deputy Commissioner of Police (East-Traffic) M N Babu Rajendra Prasad said that the city traffic police had taken up a special drive against violation of guidelines in vehicles carrying children since last week.

Meanwhile, the traffic police have circulated the guidelines among schools in the city again on Thursday in the wake of Namitha’s death and warned of penal action for violations. They are as follows, 1. School cabs shall be fitted with speed governors with maximum speed limit of 40 kmph.

2. The age of school vehicle shall not be more than 15 years.

3. The body of school cab shall be highway yellow colour with a horizontal strip in green colour of 150 mm wide in the middle all around the vehicle and the words “SCHOOL CAB” shall be prominently displayed on all four sides of the vehicle.

4. If age of school children is below 12 years, the number of children carried shall not exceed 1 and a half time the permitted seating capacity. School children above 12 years shall be treated as one person. 5. In case of vehicle fitted with LPG kit, the authorised LPG kit to be installed and certified by the Registering Authority.

6. The school bus should not allow any seating arrangement over the LGP tank of the vehicle.

7. Tinted or coloured glass is not permitted.

8. The school bus should not alter the seating capacity.

9.Doors of the bus should be fitted with reliable locks.

10.The driver of a school cab must have a valid license to drive LMV transport vehicles for a period of at least four years.

11. Driver should compulsorily wear light blue shirt, light blue trouser and black shoes. His nameplate should also be displayed on the shirt.

12. There shall be sufficient space provided to keep school bags inside the vehicle.

13. No roof carriers, and bags should not be hung outside the vehicle.

14. The name, address and telephone number of the permit holder shall be painted or placed on the school cab in a visible manner.

15. The bus driver should carry a complete list of the children being ferried in the school cab indicating the name, class, residential address, blood group and points of stoppage, route plan attested by the school authority.

16. In case of an emergency, the school cab driver/attendant shall inform the school authority about the incident and make necessary arrangements for the safety of school children.

17. In case of kindergarten, if an authorised person recognised mutually by the school and parents does not come to pick the child from the dropping point, such child shall be taken back to the school and their parents should be called to fetch the child.

18. The vehicle which is to be used as school cab shall be a closed body type with hard top. No vehicle with canvas hood can be permitted to carry the children. Source: Karnataka Motor Vehicles (Conditions for Vehicles engaged in transport of school children) rules, 2012

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