Dubai: Dubai school buses have had zero fatalities in road accidents for the last three years, making it the safest mode of transport for children, traffic officials have disclosed.
As many as 4,076 school buses ply Dubai roads everyday transporting over 131,491 school children, according to the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA).
Although four school buses were involved in separate accidents last year, no deaths were recorded.
RTA’s Public Transport Agency chief, Essa Abdul Rahman Al Dossari, attributed the high levels of child safety on school buses to the School Transport Law established in 2008.
“The ridership of school buses has consistently gone up. High safety levels have boosted the confidence of parents increasing the numbers by more than 25 per cent, as compared to before the law,” he said.
While 2,727 fines were issued to school buses for violations during 2011-2012 academic year, 1,887 fines were issued in 2010-2011.
Al Dossari was speaking at an event held to announce an upcoming conference, the recommendations of which are likely to be adopted by the Dubai government to improve the School Transport Law.
The International Conference for School Transportation and Exhibition will be hosted by RTA in partnership with the National Association for Pupil Transportation (NAPT), a not-for-profit organisation in the USA responsible for the safe transportation of over 1.1 million students everyday.
The event will be held at the World Trade Centre from April 21 to 23, under the theme Shaping Sustainable School Transport with Policy, Attitude and Action.
“The recommendations of the conference are likely to make 30 per cent changes to the existing law,” Al Dossari said.
Experts from around the world will discuss international best practices and exchange know-how, he said.
The conference will have sessions on regulation and legislation, planning and operation, safety, technology and security in school transportation, student management and management of challenges faced by special needs students.
“School transportation is fundamental to a quality education,” Alexandra Robinson, President of NAPT said.
NAPT is participating in the event because nothing can ever be taken for granted and good safety and security record is only as good as it is today, she said.
Tomorrow always looms with uncertainty, and a single event involving any school or any school bus on any day can fundamentally alter public confidence, added Robinson.