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Lack of awareness threatens school bus safety

01-13-2012 08:13 BJT

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China’s school bus safety standards are under wide discussion. Experts and scholars have been scrutinising draft regulations in a recent review session of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology.

This is a luxury most Chinese children never even dream of - brand new buses driving them to school. That’s been the case in some areas since early January.

They come with the promise of a safe journey. But it’s still far from a reality for the majority of those in need, especially children in the rural and remote regions.

To tap into the cause of school bus safety, Professor Wang Jingbo believes, one needs an historical perspective.

Wang Jingbo said, "The issue reflects the conflict between poor public transport and the restructuring of educational resources in the late 1980s. Along with the urbanization process, rural population is shrinking, local schools have amalgamated to optimize resources, nearby schools are dismantled, and public transport is lagging. So students have to attend faraway schools, whereas in the urban areas, it’s more a pursuit of better schools."

When schools fail to provide a proper means of transport, many resort to illegal ways. The high frequency only suggests that these events are far from accidental.

In Beijing, the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology held a two day review on the technical standards of school buses. Participants debated over the shape of the vehicle, in particular the design of the bonnet.

Participants said, "I believe the traditional big-rig design is better, it cushions the blow in case of a head-on collision."

"The head design should not be unified. A flat front design with a rear-end engine works just as well. "

While some are bickering over technical standards, the role negligent driving plays in these tragedies can be easily overlooked. And simply producing better vehicles is not enough."

Professor Wang Jingbo believes it’s about implementing the law and increasing safety awareness in society.

Wang Jingbo said, "The draft regulation gives priority to school buses, but could we observe the rules in crowded streets where everyone wants to go first, or in rural areas where no one’s supervising? To cultivate a respect for the law requires a lot more than closed-door meetings."

Wang also suggests that while the local governments pay for the vehicles, the cost of maintenance should be spread between the government, schools and parents. Local governments should also upgrade infrastructure to maintain a safe environment in general.


Editor:Zhang Dan |Source: CNTV.CN

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