Ensuring safety on the road: DGT launches special campaign for school buses

by Lorraine Williamson
school buses

MADRID – The Dirección General de Tráfico (DGT), Spain’s traffic authority, has initiated a dedicated surveillance and control campaign this week, focusing on the safety of school buses.

The campaign, set to run until Friday, January 26, underscores the paramount importance of road safety in passenger transport, with particular emphasis on the school transportation sector.

According to data from the Instituto Nacional de Estadística (INE)as cited by the Observatorio del Transporte de Viajeros por Carretera, over 200,000 students utilised school buses for commuting to their educational institutions during the 2022 academic year. In light of these statistics, the campaign aims to scrutinise school buses, ensuring compliance with speed limits and prohibiting the use of mobile phones and other distracting devices. The most common accidents involving school buses are often attributed to inappropriate speeds or driver distractions.

Inspections of school buses

The enforcement agencies, including the Agrupación de Tráfico of the Guardia Civil and local police forces in participating municipalities, will intensify inspections during this campaign. Their focus will be on verifying the proper authorisations and documents required for service provision, as well as ensuring that the vehicles meet the technical and safety standards mandated by regulations. Additionally, checks will be conducted on the special requirements for drivers, such as valid driving licenses and adherence to driving and rest times.

Given the critical role of seat belts in accident scenarios, special attention will be given to their usage in school buses equipped with this safety feature. The campaign also addresses the issue of alcohol and drug consumption among drivers through stringent controls.

The transport of schoolchildren is subject to a rigorous set of regulations, and compliance with these rules is vital for the safety of young passengers. It is a collective responsibility to ensure adherence to these regulations, whether through campaigns like this, the efforts of educational institutions, or the involvement of parent associations responsible for contracting bus routes.

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Safety

One notable regulation, effective since October 20, 2007, mandates that newly registered buses must be equipped with mandatory restraint systems. Presently, over 60% of all registered school buses comply with this requirement. This is a significant step, considering that seat belts play a crucial role in ensuring safety on both short and long journeys, whether urban or interurban.

In response to the prevalence of lateral collisions and rear-end accidents, which constitute 40% of incidents involving these vehicles, regulations implemented since 2013 mandate that all new school buses must be equipped with an automatic emergency braking system. This system activates automatically upon detecting the possibility of a collision, contributing to enhanced safety measures for students on board.

In conclusion, the DGT’s comprehensive campaign reflects the commitment to ensuring the highest safety standards for school transportation. By enforcing existing regulations and promoting awareness, the authorities aim to create a secure environment for the more than 200,000 students who rely on school buses for their daily commute.

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