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China Daily Website

Local gov'ts to ensure school bus safety

Updated: 2012-04-10 16:11
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - Local governments above the county level will be responsible for school bus safety management, according to a recently promulgated regulation posted on the central government's official website,, on Tuesday.

The Regulation on School Bus Safety Management was signed by Premier Wen Jiabao as a state decree on April 5 and has been in effect since.

Should major school bus accidents occur as a result of government dereliction, responsible officials will be held accountable, the regulation provides.

The regulation asks local governments to ensure that students attend nearby schools or boarding schools so as to "reduce students' traffic risks."

Local governments are also obliged to develop urban and rural public transit options so students will be able to commute more conveniently.

For rural areas that cannot ensure nearby schooling or convenient public transport to schools, measures should be taken to ensure students' access to school buses.

Local governments above the county level should organize licensed bus companies to provide commuting services to students and supervise their operations, the regulation says, adding that security staff should accompany students in school buses.

The regulation specifies stricter requirements for the technical conditions of school buses, bus drivers' qualifications, the responsibilities of security staff and penalties for those who violate the regulation.

Furthermore, the regulation metes out harsh punishments for overloading, a primary cause of school bus accidents.

It provides that buses found carrying more than their designated capacity will be temporarily seized by traffic police authorities and violators will be subjected to harsh punishments.

For those transporting students in reassembled or worn-out buses, a fine of 2,000 yuan (317 US dollars) to 5,000 yuan will be imposed, their drivers' licenses will be revoked and buses will be confiscated. Owners of the buses will be fined 80,000 yuan to 100,000 yuan.

The regulation also specifies schools' responsibilities in ensuring school bus safety, stipulating that public school leaders will be held accountable should serious accidents take place and private schools could also be subjected to harsh punishments such as having their licenses revoked.

A spokesman for the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council said that the regulation has attracted widespread public attention, as the public has offered some 7,000 pieces of suggestions for the draft regulation.

The regulation defines school bus as buses providing commuting services to junior high school students and elementary school students.

The spokesman explained, senior high school students are excluded because their physical conditions and self-protection capabilities equal those of adults. Besides, kindergarten children are not covered by the regulation because either they should go to nearby care facilities or they should be accompanied by adults.

A string of school bus accidents occurred in China last year, prompting the government to introduce new safety regulations and standards for school buses to allay public concern.

The most serious was in November last year, when 21 students were killed after their nine-seat minivan, which was crammed with 62 preschool students, crashed in northwestern Gansu province.

Following the accident, Premier Wen Jiabao ordered the school bus safety regulation be drafted in a timely fashion.

Premier Wen Jiabao has also promised in his government work report on March 5 this year that authorities will "enhance school bus and campus safety to ensure children's safety."

The death toll has risen to three from the latest accident involving a school bus and a truck on Monday in south China's Guangdong province.

An initial investigation has shown that the bus, which had a loading capacity of 11 and belongs to the Jinlong Yucai Kindergarten, was carrying 19 people, including 17 children, the driver and a teacher.