School bus accident in Tarn Taran a wake-up call for road safety in winter


Neeraj Bagga

Amritsar, December 6

The accident of a school bus due to a thick layer of fog in neighbouring Tarn Taran district a few days back has served as a reminder to schools and government departments to take timely steps to avoid the occurrence of such incidents in future.

The low visibility caused by fog is a major reason behind road accidents taking place during the morning hours in winter every year. Despite awareness, these accidents keep happening regularly. GS Bedi, a resident of Ranjit Avenue, said that never an attempt was made to sensitise schools and the school bus driving staff to take corrective measures ahead of the beginning of foggy spell in winter. “As usual, a gruesome accident takes place to awaken the departments from slumber,” he added.

Pawan Katariya, father of two primary school-going kids, said he himself drives his two kids to schools daily. Since most of the private schools are operating at the bypasses and beyond, the visibility is lowest during winter. “Drivers tend to speedily reach their destinations as they have to pick up a large number of students. Even a slight error could be disastrous,” he pointed out. Katariya demanded that the traffic police should introduce tailor-made rules to tackle fog and low visibility. All motor vehicles including transport vehicles violating rules should be taken to task.

Priya, mother of a school-going kid, said drivers of school buses and autos should be made aware of and equipped with safety measures to drive vehicles in fog. Many accidents occur in heavy fog due to negligence. It is better to be safe than sorry, she felt.

When contacted, Arshdeep Singh Lobana, Secretary, Regional Transport Authority (RTA), said his department along with the District Child Protection Officer has been regularly checking school buses and issuing challans to those violating norms. Under the Road Safety Committee, which is headed by the Deputy Commissioner, they are despatching pro formas to schools to learn how many buses are with them.

He said the data of vehicles with his department does not distinguish vehicles for being school buses. Yet he guessed that their total number could be over 600 in the district.