The National Road Safety has urged all basic schools providing transport services to ensure that vehicles designated for the service are fit for purpose and drivers assigned for the service are qualified by law.
It observed that some buses providing transport services for primary schools across the country are not fit for purpose.
According to the Authority, generally, the buses appear rickety, with sub-standard tires and seats, without seat belts and retro-reflective tapes contrary to Regulations 5, 62 and 80, 119 Road Traffic Regulations, 2012 (L.I. 2180), respectively.
Contrary to Regulations 156 of L.1.2180, the Authority also observed that some school buses are often overloaded.
It took notice that the drivers also stop at unsafe areas to pick up the children. At the same time, many buses have no adult supervisors on board.
The Authority further observed that some school children attending schools located by the roadside in high traffic environments struggle to cross the roads to and from school without any assistance.
In a statement, the Authority said these conditions increase the risk of children to road traffic crashes, injuries, and deaths, as bus occupants and children pedestrians.
“Pursuant to the Authority’s object of reducing road traffic crashes, injuries and deaths (CIDs) by such measures including notices and directives to ensure institutional compliance with procedures and standards related to Road Safety, the Authority directs as follows; The leadership of all basic schools providing transport services should ensure that vehicles designated for the service are fit for purpose and drivers assigned for the service are qualified by law,” it stated.
It also directed that all schools providing transport services for children should assign a responsible adult to the bus to help supervise them and ensure that they are loaded and offloaded at very safe places.
“Schools located by major roads (in urban environments and on highways) should collaborate with their Assemblies, Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) and School Management Committees (SMCs) to designate traffic wardens who shall assist the school children to cross the roads during the peak hours. In compliance with these directives, the Authority expects that all schools affected by these road safety measures shall submit to the Authority on or before February 28, 2022, the relevant information on the details of their drivers and vehicles assigned for the transport service and traffic warden nominated in a form prescribed by the web link below: https://tinyurLcom/alertforschoolbuses ,” it added.
Meanwhile, the Authority stated that it shall not hesitate to impose the necessary Administrative penalties and other sanctions provided by the National Road Safety Authority Act, 2019 (Act 993) to enforce these directives to improve road safety.