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Oct 06, 2022 / 14:32

School bus administration tightens amid worries about students' safety

Hanoi law enforcement agencies have inspected school buses to ensure the safe mobility of students.

Experts have said public concern for student safety calls for greater oversight of school buses and service providers to prevent potential tragedies.

 Students board a school bus in Hanoi. Photo: Phuong Dan

Since the start of the 2022-2023 academic year in early September 2022, the Hanoi Department of Transport and the Hanoi Public Security Department have conducted a rigorous inspection of all school buses.

The inspection aims to assure the safety of students commuting between their homes and school and prevent devastating incidents from happening. In late 2019, a first grader died on a school bus in Hanoi as he was left inside the bus after arriving at school.

In one month of inspection, law enforcement forces fined eight buses VND66.4 million ($2,780) for failing to obtain a contract with schools. 

Tuong Do Hien, the vice-captain of the Ha Dong District Transport Inspectors, told The Hanoi Times that major criteria for a legible school bus include a driving license and fire safety and rescue certificates.

He said a school bus should also have fire extinguishers, first aid kits and surveillance cameras.

“The inspection found that most vehicles and drivers are in good condition. The law enforcement forces will continue to patrol and conduct unexpected checks on the vehicles,” Hien said.

Le Thi Huong, a parent in Cau Giay District, said that the inspection of school buses makes her feel secure and that the activity should be kept to ensure nothing wrong would happen to the kids.

There should be stricter standards for the school bus and its driver, while provincial authorities must tighten the rules on the operation of the vehicles, Le Van Son in Thanh Xuan District said.

The Marie Curie school has contracted with ten companies to deploy more than 100 buses to pick up students. Drivers must pass fire and rescue safety training, while vehicles must be well equipped and conditioned as regulated.

Transportation specialist Do Cao Phan said that school buses require high safety standards, and thousands of active vehicles in Hanoi are already meeting those requirements.

School bus companies, principals and school representatives must be held accountable to the law and families for student safety, Phan said.

To further improve the control of school buses, the city’s Education and Training Department is requested to ask schools not to hire unqualified bus companies and drivers.

In addition, the transport department asks bus companies and drivers to follow strict rules on the number of seats, instalment of required safety equipment on the bus, and the certification of bus drivers.

The transport inspection teams will work with the traffic police and local authorities to enhance the examination of school buses and assure the safety standards for these vehicles.