By Neeraj Mahajan
ifteen people survived the accident. The bride, groom and 11 people were among those who were missing.
22 children were burnt alive when a school bus caught fire in Mumbai.
and 30 were injured
A school bus driver and conductor in Delhi were arrested for sexually abusing a six-year old girl.
A school bus collided with a truck laden with bricks in northwestern India killing at least eleven children.
During the last few years there has been an increase in number of school bus accidents involving children… However In spite of an increase in school bus accidents in the past, transport authority and the school management are not taking any action to avoid accidents.
Recent School Bus Accidents:
· 3 Jan 2014: 40 people, including students, were injured in an accident when a school bus collided with a private bus near Chakkarakkal in Kannur.
· 16 Jan 2014: Eight children were injured, two of them critically when a bus belonging to Army Public School collided with a truck in the morning fog near Sector 31 Noida.
· 10 January, 2013: At least 25 people, including 11 children, were been killed when the truck they were travelling overturned in Bihar
· 30 July, 2013: At least 10 children aged 7-17 died on the spot and 20 were injured in an accident when their school bus collided with a truck on a national highway in the district of Ganganagar district in Rajasthan. The bus driver was allegedly trying to overtake another vehicle when he collided with a truck coming towards him. There were nearly 50 children in the bus at the time of the accident.
· 9 May 2013: At least 39 people including 3 children were killed and 40 injured in a bus crash in Himachal Pradesh.
· 4 March, 2013: At least 11 children and a driver were killed and another 10 children injured when a school bus collided with a truck in state of Punjab.
· 19 August, 2012: Twenty teachers injured in Tadepallygudem.
· 20 March 2012: Eight children killed and 30 injured when a school bus plunged into river in Andhra Pradesh.
· 7 March 2012: A 6 year old kid dead under a school bus in an accident in Krishna district
· 1 March, 2012: 7 children injured in a school bus mishap in chittor district.
· 1 March, 2012: Two children died in East Godavari District.
· 29 February, 2012: Again two kids lost their life in East Godavari.
According to an international study conducted by Reuters Foundation India is the sixth most dangerous country worldwide for children after Sudan, Uganda, Congo, Iraq and Somalia as well as the worst place for women in the world amongst G20 nations.
• 41% of children in India die every year in transportation accidents
• Every day, 27,000,000 school children traveling on 500,000 buses risk Delays, Run Over, Accidents, Terrorism, Death, Kidnappings, Bullying, Molestation, and all kinds of traffic hazards.
· 12-year-old boy on his way to school kidnapped and murdered
• Teacher & Bus Staff arrested for sexually abusing children aged 3-12
Strangely school bus and child safety is one of the parameters used to measure dangers to children. But if Indian school bus and child safety records are any indication, figures reveal a grim picture:
· 3% of India’s GDP is spent on road accidents- this means road accidents cost a staggering Rs. 350 billion or Rs 35,000 Crores to the economy
· 13 people die every hour in road accidents in this country.
· India with just 1% of the world’s vehicles, accounts for 10% of the world’s fatal accidents.
· 70% of road accidents take away the main wage earner.
· Mortality rate per 10,000 vehicles in India is 14
· Mortality rate of children in India per 100,000 people is 19
· According to National Crime Records Bureau, Tamil Nadu (14%), Maharashtra (12.4%) and Andhra Pradesh (12.1%) have the maximum accidents in the country.
· Drivers’ fault (78%) is the single most important factor responsible for accidents
· Child traffic death rate in India is four to five times higher than other developed nations.
· That is when an estimated 30% of accidents go unreported
Four year old Japneet Singh’s father dressed him neatly in nursery school uniform and dropped him off at the bus stop. In the afternoon, his grandfather waiting at the bus stop but Japneet never returned home. He was found lying in a pool of blood on the roadside. His schoolbooks were scattered on the ground, and his brother, Parmeet was kneeling beside his limp body. Cherry!” Parmeet implored, “Get up!” but Japneet did not respond.
All over India many unfortunate schoolchildren- like Japneet go to school in the morning but never return home.
Japneet was crushed beneath the wheels of the bus when he exited the bus.
It’s been some time since India enacted the laws regulating school bus safety following a Supreme Court judgment which mandated speed governors to limit the vehicle’s speed, mechanical opening and closing of doors as well as qualified and experienced, law-abiding driver conductors. Surprisingly even the parents are reluctant to take on schools on safety issue.
At the time of searching for a new school, most parents usually take pains to find out things like student teacher ratio, curriculum, academic track record of the school, sports facilities offered and other such things but they are satisfied if the school has a bus service that reaches their doorsteps.
According to an eminent eye specialist, sharp reflexes of drivers affect their decision making capability on road. He emphasized the need to test the reflexes of drivers to be made mandatory to ensure road safety, prevent crashes and reduce road injuries. Reflexes diminish with age and time
The Supreme Court guideline also makes it mandatory for school bus owners to install speed governors but the transport operators express their helplessness as the cost of the speed governors has shot up from Rs 6,000 to Rs 12,000 because only a handful of manufacturers monopolize the market.
These are some of the reasons why school bus accidents are so common in India that they don't make news.
Since 2000, 1,386 people have died in school bus accidents at an average of 139 fatalities per year. Most of the people who lost their lives in these crashes (72%) were occupants of other vehicles involved.
Since 2000, 130 school-age pedestrians (younger than 19) have died in school transportation-related crashes. Over two-thirds (67%) were killed by school buses, 6 percent by vehicles functioning as school buses, and 27 percent by other vehicles involved in the crashes. Almost (43%) 5-7 year old pedestrians’ in school-going age groups were killed in school transportation-related crashes.
On average, 10 school-age pedestrians are killed by school transportation vehicles (school buses and non-school bus vehicles used as school buses) each year, and 4 are killed by other vehicles involved in school bus-related crashes.
More school-age pedestrians have been killed between the hours of 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. than any other time of day.
All this is hardly any consolation for the family of the three-year-old who was knocked down by school bus last year, or the six-year-old girl from Chennai who died after falling through a hole on the floor of the bus.