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New law ‘paints’ all school buses yellow

School buses will not be allowed to operate between 10pm and 5am, a new law passed yesterday states. The law also requires school buses to be painted yellow with the school names and emblems done in colour black.

The vehicles will also have signage as may be prescribed in the changes aimed at ensuring safety of pupils, transported to and from school. Other vehicles that regularly transport school children but are not schools buses will be exempted from the stringent rules but will be required to adhere to other traffic rules.

Motor vehicle designated for transporting children to and from school or for any non-school related activity when they are in a group shall be fitted with safety belts designed to be used by children.

MPs, however, rejected a proposal to have the speed limit of vehicles approaching learning institutions fixed at 30km per hour and instead put it at 50km per hour.

The Bill sponsored by Laisamis MP Joseph Lekuton seeks to save school children from the vagaries of rogue drivers. Under the new law, any person who contravenes its provisions will be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh30,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months, or to both.

According to the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) school bus safety rules, school driver recruitment should involve both the Parents Teachers Association representation (PTA) and school administration due to the important responsibility that is entrusted those persons.

The rules also stipulates that the selection and training of school drivers should be rigorous and include retraining and regular re-evaluation to ascertain alertness, consistency and proficiency to avoid putting the lives of pupils and students at risk.

School bus drivers should also successfully complete a written and oral test covering driver duties, bus operating procedures, traffic and school bus regulations, road emergency and crash related procedures such as, first aid, basic appreciation of the development stages and needs of school children.

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