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13Oct2017

Ways Unsafe School Bus Driving Can Cost You

 

Transportation means and modes have considerably increased over the past few years. Yet the basic infrastructure facilities have not risen correspondingly. The NCRB data show that around 400 deaths out of 1374 accidents, which take place every day on Indian roads. Children below the age of 18 occupy around 10.5% of these fatalities per day. Such statistical figures invariably raise the question of safety measures taken for children on Indian roads.

Majority of the school students commute by school bus. In fact, some schools make it mandatory for the kids to travel by school bus. In such a scenario, the safety of our children is entirely dependent on the drivers and management of schools for all practical purposes.  

A recent surprise check on drunken driving led to the arrest of around 36 school bus drivers from four districts of Kerala. The incident revealed the rampant nature among school bus drivers to ignore the rules of safety especially while driving the school buses. 

Students, Parents and educators should have an awareness on the road safety rules and regulations. This would render the consequences of unsafe and erratic driving. 

1. Driving without legal authorization

The driver of the school bus must have a valid License permitting him to ride LMV transport vehicles for the duration of four years at the least. They must wear a uniform  while on duty and the name ID should be displayed on the uniform.  Drivers should be legally authorized by the school authorities for driving the bus in case of school buses. Failure to do so can invoke section 197 of the Motor vehicle Act, which prescribes a fine of Rs. 500 or imprisonment up to 3 months, or both.

2. Cancellation of permit

The permit holder, that is, school authorities for school bus can be canceled or driver license can be revoked in cases of accidents involving fatalities. 

3. Censure /Warnings/Fines from traffic department

Fines range from Rs. 100- Rs.300 for mild offenses involving the physical defects such as number plate offenses and parking violations. Consequently, offenses related to license and non maintenance of vehicles are usually fined with Rs.500- Rs. 1000 and/or imprisonment up to 3 months. 

A major portion of accidents result from faulty vehicles. Nevertheless, driving without a valid vehicle fitness certificate can cost you a fine of Rs.2000-Rs 5000 along with/without the imprisonment of 3 months even in the first instance itself. 

However, reckless driving can cause you to be fined approximately Rs.1000 and/or imprisonment around six months.  In such instances, the driver can be arrested on the spot.

4. Cancellation of Registration of vehicle

As a matter of fact, transport Authorities can even propose to cancel the registration of the vehicle if the vehicle is found to be in a condition, which constitutes a grave public danger while on roads. Hence, old and defective buses which are beyond repairable conditions cannot be used as school buses, whatever be the circumstance. 

5. Lose job

Usually school bus drivers are employed without any background checks by authorities. Such instances are changing now, thanks to the awareness programs on road safety rules and regulations organized at regular intervals by the Motor Vehicle Department. As a result, the non-compliant behavior can therefore lead to loss of job for the drivers.

Serial offenders can lose jobs . The legal hurdles and court procedures can add up to the woes accordingly. Moreover, the lost goodwill can also harm your reputation.

9. Legal hassles for schools in case of non-compliance

School bus authorities should be committed follow the instructions given by the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles Department at regular intervals to refresh knowledge on road safety rules and regulations among drivers. They also need to undergo training and refresher programs conducted by the Motor Vehicle Department. Ordinarily, failure to comply with the requirements and serial offenses can lead to court procedures and legal hassles for the school authorities. 

CBSE has made it mandatory for school buses to install GPS trackers and CCTV cameras. CCTV footage should be kept mandatory for at least 60 days and submitted to legal authorities when needed.

Ultimately, it is your responsibility to adhere to the safety regulations, which otherwise takes the innocent lives and thus result in heavy penalties.

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