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Kenya's Parliament passes Traffic Amendment Bill to enhance safety on school buses. Nation Media Group summarises what the bill says.

Our Role in Ensuring School Bus Safety for Children

By Iminza Keboge and Simba-Safe Kenya
Published July 21, 2017

Kenya's 2016 Traffic Amendment Bill requires all school vehicles to be painted yellowA kindergarten pupil has been crushed to death by a school bus in which he was riding.

The six-year-old boy from St Augustine’s Preparatory School in Kenya’s coastal city of Mombasa died on the spot after being run over by the back wheels of the bus when he fell through an opening on the floor of the bus.

Whether children walk, are dropped off by their parents or take the bus to school, it is crucial that they – and the motorists around them – take proper safety precautions.

The National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) has issued guidelines for schools on transportation to help observe school bus safety for children in Kenya.

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Among other safety guidelines, NTSA recommends: lap/shoulder belt restraint system for use as directed; all children to travel in child-restraint system when transported in all motor vehicles and school buses to ensure safest ride possible; and mirrors to improve driver visibility in front and along both sides of school bus.

NTSA also recommends that:

  • passengers of all ages be taught safe driving and pedestrian behaviour regardless of the frequency of school bus use, and
  • adult supervision on school buses focus on ensuring that passengers stay seated, using seat belts and occupant protection systems, keeping their arms and head inside the windows; assisting in emergency circumstances and passengers with special needs, escorting children across roadways; and  picking up and dropping off pupils only at designated stops.

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Transport for pupils and students of Nairobi South Nursery, Primary and Secondary SchoolA school bus driver, NTSA says, should:

  • be fully in charge of the bus and pupils
  • have the authority of a classroom teacher
  • be responsible for the health, safety and welfare of each passenger
  • conduct thorough pre-trip and post-trip checks on the vehicle to ensure that the vehicle and safety
  • equipment is operational
  • ensure that no child is left on board the bus and that the vehicle is clean and secure
  • communicate effectively with school staff, parents and students.

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A School bus attendant, on the other hand, should:

School transport for Nairobi Jaffery Academy

  • assist in loading and unloading of pupils
  • ensure that pupils and equipment are properly secured for safe transport
  • adjust, fasten, and release restraint devices for pupils as required
  • continually monitor overall safety of pupils and equipment.
  • ensure that all pupils remain seated at all times.
  • assist the driver during unusual traffic conditions, act as a lookout when backing the bus
  • monitor and report pupil behavior according to established procedure
  • assist the driver with the post-trip inspection to ensure no pupil is left on board the bus
  • assist pupils with disabilities and with personal needs associated with their disabilities.

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In June 2017, Members of Parliament (MPs) passed the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2016 which requires all school buses to be painted yellow with the name of the institutions they serve written in black and have other signage as may be prescribed, in a wide range of changes aimed at enhancing the safety of pupils and students.

Nation Newspaper's summary of Kenya's 2016 Traffic Amendment Bill that seeks to enhance safety on school buses. According to the Bill, a motor vehicle designated to transport children to or from school, or for any non-school related activity, when they are in a group, shall be fitted with safety belts.

The speed limit of all vehicles approaching learning institutions has been fixed at 50 kilometres per hour.

As a parent paying for these school bus transport services, familiarise yourself with the standardised expectations. As a school, instill compliance measures to ensure the safety of the children in your custody.

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