A total of 32 school buses were involved in accidents in which 17 passengers were injuredin 2016. For this reason, the National Department of Traffic (DGT) is rolling out a special school transport monitoring and awareness campaign. 230 thousand students use the school bus each day to get to school or to get home. No less than 17,000 buses carry out school transport services (approximately 40% of the entire private fleet).
The school bus can be said to be a safe means of transport. In fact, in the last year there were no fatalities registered on these buses. Nevertheless, the particular vulnerability of its passengers and the roads on which they travel should be noted. As indicated by the DGT, the vast majority of journeys are undertaken on conventional highways and therefore they need to be particularly vigilant.
Since 27 November and until 1 December, the DGT is rolling out a new monitoring campaign for this type of transport. The officers of the Civil Guard Traffic Division will be checking that the buses in question comply with all administrative requirements, namely, theauthorizations and documents that such vehicles ought to have in order to provide an adequate service.
The officers will also be checking on compliance with technical aspects and the necessary safety features required by law, as well as special requirements that thedrivers themselves must comply with, such as driving licenses, driving hours and rest periods.
They will also be checking that drivers are driving at thepermitted speed and that they are not using their mobile telephones or other devices that can cause a distraction. The DGT highlights that speed and distraction are the leading causes of accidents in these types of vehicles. There will also be increased alcohol and drug monitoring of motorists.
It should also be noted that officers will be paying special attention to the use of seat belts. We remind you that it is obligatory to use a seat belt in buses in which they are fitted. As the DGT point out, over 60% of the vehicles used for this purpose already have seat belts installed. They also point out that wearing seat belts in buses reduces fatal injuries by 90% in the case of head-on collisions or overturning, because a correctly fastened seat belt stops the passenger from being thrown forward (adult or child) and reduces impact to the chest, stomach and legs. Find more information on the use of child car seats on school buses here.
It should be noted that all buses registered from October 2007 must have seat belts installed. At Fundación MAPFRE we carried out acampaign to encourage the use of this important security device in all buses. Despite the fact that many buses havve seat belts installed, only 2 out of 10 passengers use them.
Fastening the seat belt
It is advisable to use 3-point belts, as they offer greater protection. Nevertheless, it should be well-fastened, particularly in the case of children. The seat belt should go above the child's neck. It should not rest on the neck or under the armpit.
You should check that the seat belts always fit snugly but without compressing the child's chest, i.e., there should be enough space for an adult to put their hand between the child's back and the backrest.