MTTU cautions proprietors over conditions of school buses
Police Chief Superintendent Samuel Tetteh, Eastern Regional Motor Traffic and Transport Unit (MTTU) Commander, has cautioned school proprietors to ensure that their school buses meet the passenger safety requirement or face the full sanctions of the road safety law.
Mr Tetteh stressed that the road safety law had no exemption and as such schools were not permitted to overload or flout any of the regulations.
He said drivers of school buses must therefore not take the children for granted and overload their vehicles.
To buttress his point, Mr Tetteh referred to the road safety Act 2180, which says “vehicles used in transporting children to and from school should be road worthy and not rickety, must be in good shape and proper seating accommodation must be provided for each child and if possible every seat must have seat belt”.
The MTTU Commander sounded the caution at a meeting with proprietors and heads of private schools in the Koforidua municipality on road safety laws with regard to overloading, rickety vehicles and other non-compliance of the road traffic regulations such as insurance for the vehicles and road worthy certificates.
He said their checks had revealed also that drivers of the school vehicles are minors who do not have the requisite certificate classification to drive the type of school buses and that, in many instances the drivers do not have driving licenses.
He said most of the vehicles were rickety and had no road worthy certificates with worn out cushions and dangerous metals hanging, whilst others had no windows with children seen with their heads out because of the overloading.
Chief Superintendent Tetteh emphasized that the MTTU had also beside their checks, received complaints from the public and would therefore not relent on its mandate.
He called on the proprietors to rectify the anomaly or face the law.
The Regional Commander, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCOP), Yagy Akuriba, on his part, said the fact that the schools were providing an essential service such as education, does not give them the leeway to expose the children to harm.
He said the concern of the police was the safety of the children and the current situation was dangerous and a threat to the children’s health and urged the school owners to ensure that they comply with the law.
The Regional Commander called on the school owners to ensure that the school buses are maintained regularly since the children needs to be protected.
The issue of overloading and rickety school buses had been a concern for many in the municipality since about 90 percent of all the private schools operate school bus services, conveying children to and from their respective schools each day.
Sometimes the children were seen virtually hanging in the vehicles with their heads sticking out of the window and the pubic had expressed worry over the situation.
The proprietors admitted the offence but said they were faced with a challenge, adding that, they are forced to do that in order not to affect school hours.
They however assured the MTTU that the Association of Private Schools in the municipality would meet with their various Parent Teacher Associations (PTAs) to strategize and ensure strict adherence of the law.
They thanked the police for making time to discuss the issue with them before embarking on the enforcement.