The stipulation of special permit conditions for every school bus is an important feature of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles (Regulation and Control of School Buses) Special Rules that have been notified in the government gazette.

According to the special permit conditions, no school bus should be fitted with any pressure horn or any other device for producing tonal sound which is operated on air pressure drawn from the braking system. No school bus should carry more number of persons than the permitted seating capacity. However, in the case of school buses carrying only children below the age of 12 years, 1.5 times the seating capacity would be allowed. Log books should be maintained and kept available in school buses for inspection by officers concerned.

These conditions are in addition to the general conditions specified in the Motor Vehicles Act and in the TN Motor Vehicles Rules.

In every school bus, speed controlling device (speed governor), conforming to standards prescribed, should be fitted so that the speed of the vehicle did not exceed 40 km per hour within limits of municipal corporations and 50 km per hour in other places.

In every school bus, the first step of the foot board should be at a height not exceeding 300 mm and not less than 250 mm from the ground.

The Special Rules have been notified after the First Bench of the Madras High Court, a month ago, had approved the draft Rules. This followed the death of S. Sruthi, a class II student of Zion Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Selaiyur, near here in July. She fell through a hole in the school bus and was run over. Taking suo motu cognisance of the matter, the court had directed the State government to undertake the exercise of framing the Rules.

Among other provisions of the Rules are the suitable grilled provision for bag racks under the seat for keeping bags and other belongings of students and emergency exit doors at the rear right side or at the rear wind screen with quick release latches mechanism. Exclusive parent teacher associations, whose formation has been prescribed, would have to meet once a month to enable parents of those children using the buses to make any representation on the conduct of drivers and attendants. The age limit has been stipulated for attendants in school buses who should not be less than 21 years of age and not more than 50 years.

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