We have talked about the importance of seat belts for school transport and the need for the journey to be undertaken under conditions of optimum safety. In order to raise awareness and identify those who are operating school transport without the minimum safeguards, the Directorate General of Traffic (DGT) has begun a special surveillance campaign focused mainly on this means of transport. This is because it is the means of transport used by 230,000 schoolchildren on a daily basis.
“Every day, 230,000 schoolchildren use the school bus to get from home to school and back”, according to the new Director-General of Traffic, Gregorio Serrano. Road accident data are not alarming but there is always room for improvement. In 2015, a total of 27 school buses were involved in accidents in which 9 vehicle occupants were injured.
The special surveillance campaign begins on Monday 28 November and ends on 2 December. Over these days, agents of the Spanish Civil Guard Traffic Group will be monitoring buses used for school transport. Firstly they will run an administrative control check on the permits and documents that these vehicles must hold to provide the service correctly.
Subsequently, a check will be made to ensure that the technical conditions and safety features of the vehicle meet with legal regulations, as well as the special requirements that must be fulfilled by the driver, such as a driving license, driving times and rest periods.
Additionally, they will check that drivers are driving within the official speed limit and are not using mobile phones or other potentially distracting devices.
SPECIAL MONITORING OF DRUGS AND ALCOHOL
The Traffic Directorate has also announced an increase in checks for alcohol and drugs among these drivers. In fact, last week two drivers were identified as testing positive. One of them was the female driver of a school bus that was taking children from a school located in Villaviciosa de Odón (Madrid), who after undergoing tests to detect alcohol and drugs, tested positive with 0.28 and 0.27 mg of alcohol per liter of exhaled air, nearly twice the permitted limit, the alcohol level for professional drivers being limited to 0.15 mg per liter.
Meanwhile, in Trujillo (Cáceres) another driver was detained as the alleged perpetrator of a road safety offense for driving a school bus while five times over the limit for alcohol (0.84 mg/l). The agents proceeded to immobilize the vehicle until the transport company could send another driver to take charge of the vehicle and continue the school run.
Special attention will also be given to seat belts. The DGT is aware that currently 60% of these kind of vehicles are already fitted with seat belts (since October 2007, any bus without these restraint systems cannot be registered).
This campaign has the support of municipalities with more than 20,000 inhabitants.
Aware of the importance of being able to make the journey to and from school safely, at ‘Children's Road Safety’, Fundación MAPFRE's Department of Accident Prevention and Road Safety, we have discussed in numerous articles how to know if your child's school bus route is safe and the necessity of using child restraint systems in school buses whenever necessary.