With an aim to minimise school bus accidents, Institute of Road Traffic Education (IRTE), along with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, has been organising workshops to train the bus drivers and attendants of the city-based schools. Nearly 600 school bus drivers have attended the workshops so far. According to IRTE officials, many drivers can't even read signages and unaware of the traffic rules.
After several children fell victim to school bus accidents, IRTE this year started conducting workshops for the bus drivers.
The workshops are being sponsored through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity by Goodyear India Limited, in support with the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
The drivers are being trained by special faculties of IRTE's College of Traffic Management. They are being trained in reading sign boards, defensive driving, various responsibilities, safety management and procedures, school transportation guidelines by CBSE etc.
"The drivers are being given a stipend of Rs 500 to attend the training. We welcome such moves by the government. However, a big question mark remains on illegal vans and vehicles that ferry the school children," said Anil Garg, the president of School Bus Owners Association. "The drivers are being trained by IRTE. The response to the workshop is also good. They are learning about safety measures to ferry school children," Subhash Pedamkar, Regional Transport officer, Mumbai Central said.
The workshop starts at 9am and continues till 5pm. It is held in different schools. On Sunday, the training was held in Andheri RTO office and IES School in Dadar.
"The school bus drivers usually have lots of experience, but most of them lack the knowledge of traffic rules. They need to update themselves. Before conducting the training, we tested them on traffic rules. Only 20% are aware of the guidelines. They scored 80% after attending the workshop. We even formed three booklets to train them. One of them is for the bus drivers, another for attendants and the third one was on traffic rules," Arushi Baluja, head of Department of driver training, IRTE, said. A van ferrying home eight school children caught fire near Parel Bus Depot in June last year. The vehicle was ferrying students of Green Lawns School in Worli. A spark close to the silencer caused the fire.
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