Focus on bus transport safety as student dies in Oman

Oman Saturday 08/September/2018 20:33 PM
By: Times News Service
Focus on bus transport safety as student dies in Oman

Muscat: In an effort to increase the security on buses and protect schoolchildren, the director general of education in South Shariqyah has launched the first phase of an initiative to install safety and security equipment in 296 buses in the governorate.
The project, which is funded by Oman LNG company, aims to control the speeding capability of buses by providing immediate reports to schools.
Also read: ​Ministry terminates school bus contract after child dies on board
Monitor behaviour
Additionally, it will monitor the behaviour of students inside and outside the bus. The system will also present clear reports of the driver’s commitment to the dates of attendance and departure and waiting time for students.
The directorate will allocate six centres close to schools to carry out the installation process. The technology will be handled by Global Security Company, which operates under the umbrella of Omantel.
The system also provides an application, which allows parents to receive real-time information, such as the number of students at each of the bus stops and issues a sound and visual warning if a student is forgotten after the driver has left.
The measures have been put in place following an unfortunate incident on Thursday, in which an eight-year-old Sudanese boy was found dead after he was locked inside a bus in Ruwi for a number of hours.
An official at the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance confirmed the incident and said that investigations were already underway.
Meanwhile, Royal Oman Police (ROP) said that the boy had been left unattended on the bus since morning.
“He was transported to the hospital but was declared dead on arrival,” ROP said.
Read here: 8-year-old dies after being left in Oman school bus
ROP has advised all bus drivers to make sure that buses are empty when they drop off the children, so to avoid similar incidents. Ali Al Barwani, head of the Oman Road Safety Association, said it was the responsibility of both parents and teachers to ensure that children went to school and reached home safely and on time.
“This is a really unfortunate case because it could have been easily avoided,” said Al Barwani. “Parents and teachers both need to make sure that children who go by bus are entering the correct one. They must know which bus is transporting the children, where it is going, and what time the bus is expected to arrive and leave. They must also check if it is the regular bus that the children take, and see whether anyone else is present on the bus, because it could be an ordinary bus and not the school bus.”
“Parents should ensure that their children enter the correct bus, and wait with them until they are inside the bus,” he added. “You cannot just leave your child alone to wait for the bus, especially if he or she is small. If he/she is maybe seven or eight years old, then it is very dangerous to leave him/her alone, because anything can happen to your child. This is true at any time, but especially if he/she is in a new area because he/she will not know where to go and what to do. If he/she is in a new place, then the parents must accompany the child to school for a few days and see that he/she reaches safely. Only then, will he/she know the right way of getting to school safely. Otherwise, he/she will get confused and lost, and unfortunate things can happen.”
“It is so sad that this happened so early in the academic year and we need to make more and better efforts. Those concerned must observe the recommendations that we have made for the community,” said Al Barwani. “There must be a complete observation urgently enforced in our country because these accidents must be stopped. We at Oman Road Safety Association call for the enforcement of the right behaviour.”
The Oman Road Safety Association is taking a tough stand against such incidents as this is not the first case in Oman in which a child left unattended on a school bus has died. In August, a five-year-old boy died of suffocation after he was left inside a closed car for several hours in the wilayat of Suwaiq. The incident took place on the second day of Eid on August 22, according to an official from the ROP. In June 2017, a 28-month-old child died after being left inside a family car in the 35 degrees Celsius heat.
In October 2017, a four-year-old Omani boy died after he was left alone in a locked bus for more than five hours in the Mabella area of Seeb wilayat. The driver of the kindergarten boy’s bus found the boy in the back seat of the bus.
The boy was believed to have died of heat exhaustion and asphyxiation. In September 2015, a four-year-old girl, who was allegedly left unattended on a school bus, died of suffocation in Bidbid wilayat.
In 2014, two children died after being locked in a kindergarten bus in the Darsait area of Muttrah wilayat. The official at the ROP revealed that most cases of children being left unattended on school buses have been as a result of them falling asleep.