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Newsletter >> July 2014 >> School Bus Safety

School Bus Safety

- By Mukesh Konde


Children are future of a society and every civilised society must make full commitment to ensuring safety of every child. However, Indian society seems to be failing on this vital indicator as some of the recent events would suggest. An international study conducted by the ‘Reuters Foundation’ voted India as the sixth most dangerous country worldwide for school children after Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Iraq and Somalia. School bus and child safety are one of the parameters which are used to measure the dangers to children.

Taking a bus to school ought to be the safest way. Apart from freak and deliberately caused accidents, there are many other dangers and threats to safety of children on board. Incidents of molestation of children have been catching attention of society. We do think that only about less than 5% of such incidents are getting reported and many many more are going unreported for various reasons.

Lets look at some of the recent cases affecting safety of children in India

  1.  Mumbai: Kids caught in school bus fire 22 children burned alive
  2.  Mumbai: 4 year old girl raped by school bus cleaner
  3.  Ambala: School bus collides head-on with a truck 8 child crushed to death
  4.  Teacher & Bus Staff Molest Child on School Bus Children

These statistics are not just numbers but children who are looking forward to growing up and enjoying their life. Every day, 27,000,000 school children travelling on 500,000 buses risk Delays, Run Over Accidents, Terrorism, Death, Stoning Kidnappings, Bullying, Arson Molestation, Traffic etc. What can society do to improve safety environment and assure parents and children of safe transportation?

Hon'ble Supreme Court of India has laid down certain essentials for a School Bus as below

  1. "School Bus" must be written on the back and front of the Bus.
  2. If it is a hired bus, "On School Duty" should be clearly indicated
  3. Bus must have a First-Aid-Box.
  4. The windows of Bus must be fitted with horizontal grills.
  5. There must be a Fire Extinguisher in the Bus.
  6. School Name and Telephone No. must be written on the Bus.
  7. The doors of the Bus should be fitted with reliable locks.
  8. To keep School Bags safely, there should be a space fitted under the seats.
  9. There must be an Attendant from the School in the Bus.
  10. Any parent/guardian or a teacher may also travel to ensure these safety norms.
  11. The driver should have at least 5 year of experience of driving heavy vehicles.
  12. A driver who has been challenged more than twice in a year for offences like red light jumping, violation of lane discipline or allowing unauthorized person to drive cannot be employed
  13. A driver who has been challenged even once for the offence of over speeding, drunken driving and dangerous driving etc. Cannot be employed.

As per Section 2(47) of the Motor Vehicles Act, 1988 an educational institution bus is a transport vehicle and therefore requires a permit to ply on the road. Being a transport vehicle it would also need to undergo mandatory fitness test every year without which the permit cannot be renewed.

They have been advised that the drivers of the school buses are required to maintain traffic discipline.

Apart from the statutory authorities, parents of school children must take active interest in these areas and act as pressure to ensure that the laid down guidelines are followed in letter and spirit. These are some of most important things that must be done.

  1. They must ensure that the mode of transport arranged by school or by themselves is absolutely safe.
  2. While taking their children to school themselves, they should take proper care of their safety.
  3. Parents must ensure that the children acquire the right knowledge and skills for safe use of roads. They should teach their children the basic rules of the road, how to walk and cross the road, how to alight and board a bus etc.
  4. Parents should not allow their minor children to drive.
  5. Children are very good observers and therefore, parents must set an example by meticulously observing even small traffic rules. Safety of children must be the foremost priority of every parent.

It is also responsibility of school authorities and the teachers to ensure the safety of school children and also to impart the necessary knowledge, skills and attitude to be a safe road user.

  1. Teachers should help develop a responsible attitude towards road use in school children.
  2. Teachers should impart essential knowledge about roads and traffic to school children,
  3. Teachers should ensure that the children enter and leave the school safely. The vehicles including school buses are parked safely and properly.
  4. Children should be supervised and taken care of at the time of alighting and boarding the school bus.
  5. Every school bus must be accompanied by a teacher/ attendant for controlling the children and the bus driver.
  6. The teacher should arrange for an alternate bus and keep the children together at one place if the school bus fails to arrive or if there is any problem.
  7. There should be regular checking of school buses to ensure compliance with mandatory safety requirements.
  8. If any school bus or any conveyance, by which children come to school, violates traffic rules, the teachers should inform about it to their principal or Traffic Police Control Room.

RTO Pune has issued detailed instructions and rules for School Buses. However, as reported compliance is still very low

  1. Number of kids allowed: As per the RTO rules and regulations, a private school van is allowed to accommodate only 12 school children, and the auto rickshaw is allowed to accommodate only four
  2. Transport committee: A transport committee should be formed in all the schools which are using transport for its students. The committee should comprise RTO officer, principal of the school, traffic police department and one representative each from the school transport and parents.
  3. School bus safety norms: The school bus should have a fire extinguisher, speed governance, emergency exit, name of the school, first-aid kit, rods on the window.
  4. Auto-rickshaw safety norms: The auto-rickshaw can only accommodate four school children. The vehicle should have hard surface roof, fencing doors with locks on both sides.


We need integrated child and school bus tracking and monitoring solution that ensures children's safety and security while they travel to school and back. This solution provide single platform to all teachers and parents of school children to give the guaranty of children’s safety. This solution helps to:

  1. Track your school buses, vans and other vehicles used to transport children
  2. Monitor unsafe driving and poor/rash drivers
  3. Track, monitor and view your children
  4. View the internal view of buses from any where and any time

As per a recent survey, the risks from air pollution are now far greater than previously thought or understood, particularly for heart disease and strokes. Only a few other factors have greater impact on global health today than air pollution. The evidence clearly signals need for concerted action to clean up the air we all breathe.


Regionally, low- and middle-income countries in the WHO South-East Asia and Western Pacific Regions had the largest air pollution-related burden in 2012, with a total of 3.3 million deaths.