School buses flouting road traffic regulations

School buses being used in transporting children from and to various schools each day are flouting the road traffic regulations at the expense of the safety and wellbeing of the children.

The vehicles are rickety, rusted and more often than not over-load school children to the extent that some of them between the ages of two and six years are seen with their heads or parts of the body outside the moving vehicles.

Last year, following a GNA report on this same issue, the Eastern Regional Police Command including the Motto Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) organized a swoop on the vehicles and it was seen that the vehicles had overloaded the children.

Some of the school vehicles, which were supposed to take nine children, had 33, others had 133 instead of 40, some carrying 90 instead of 33, with others carrying 164 instead of 60.

A further check by the police also revealed that the vehicles had no road worthy certificates, no insurance cover and some of the drivers of those vehicles did not have driving licenses yet they were driving the innocent children who rather needed greater protection.

Apart from the school vehicles flouting the traffic regulations, some schools which had no vehicles of their own, resorted to the hiring of commercial vehicles each morning and after school hours to transport the children at a fee charged by the school.

Some of the drivers of those vehicles because they were operating on commercial bases and needed to go to work drove carelessly putting the lives of the children at risk.

Recently in Accra, a school girl lost her life when she fell from the moving school vehicle and was run over by the same vehicle because there was a hole in the middle of the bus that was always being used to transport her and others to and from school.

In another instance, an Accra court directed that the Lamptey Mills School Bus should be given to scrap dealers because it was deathtrap to the children and all other road users.

Many parents and people have complained about the situation but said they had no option hence the continuous use of the vehicles even though they knew it was dangerous to the safety of their children.

Some of the parents told GNA that severally they had complained to the school authorities about the bad nature of the vehicles and the rate at which the children were loaded but the authorities paid no attention to them.

The Regional Director of the Department of Children, Mr Anthony Dontoh, had expressed concern on the issue on several meetings with school proprietors and proprietresses but to no avail.

The Regional MTTU Commander, Superintendent James Sarfo Peprah, had said that the road traffic regulations had no respect for categories of persons and organizations and so whether being children, adults or school vehicles the law was the same.

He said the state of the school vehicles, including the status of the vehicles, which were death traps to the children, and the issue of driving license, overloading and the insurance cover were all serious issues that must not be toyed with.

The Commander warned that the MTTU would embark on a special operation to weed out all such vehicles that posed threat to the children as well as flouting the road traffic Act because the lives of the children could not be taken for granted.

Source: GNA

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