Up until now, school bus driver R. Chandran, was aware that speeding or talking on the mobile phone while driving could prove fatal. But what he did not know was how to administer first aid to an injured student or what to do in case of an accident.

On Tuesday morning, Regional Transport Officers (RTOs) along with officials of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Service, trained school bus drivers and bus attendants on various aspects of road safety. The training, participants said, was an eye-opener.

In the wake of several accidents involving schoolchildren, the Poonamalee RTO asked all school bus drivers in his jurisdiction to attend a workshop on safety. Around 200 drivers and attendants participated in the workshop. “We taught them several basic road safety norms and reemphasised rules such as not driving the bus over 40 km/hr and not speaking on the mobile phone while driving,” said G. Sampathkumar, motor vehicle inspector at Poonamalee RTO.

Apart from this, the drivers and attendants were taught how to carry children when they were hurt and how to administer first aid. “The biggest problem is that the driver usually flees the scene when there is an accident. This is because he gets scared. We taught them the importance of staying and rescuing the children. They were also asked to call 108 and the police immediately after the accident,” said Mr. Sampathkumar.

The drivers were also taught how to extinguish different types of fire. “If there is lot of oil, we have to use foam and not water,” said Mr. Chandran.

The attendants were taught how to alight from the bus first and then ensure the students disembarked from the bus. They were also taught to ensure the children were dropped at a safe distance from the bus. “The drivers are supposed to start the vehicle only after making sure the child is dropped safely,” he said.

In a workshop conducted by the Red Hills RTO in Velammal Matriculation School, over 175 drivers participated. School bus driver Mr. Chandran said the training was very useful. “This is the first time we are participating in a programme like this,” he said.

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