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Saturday, March 6, 2021

Qatar school bus drivers urged to drive with caution

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Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

The Ministry of Interior (MOI) has urged school bus drivers in Qatar to be “extra cautious” while driving children to and from school as the new academic year kicked off for thousands this week.

In a statement on its Facebook page, MOI added that school officials need to guarantee that bus drivers are competent and cautious, as well as ensure they are taking periodic safety training courses.

Only about a third of Qatar’s 200,000 school-age children use school buses, according to a 2012 report issued by the now-closed Rand-Qatar Policy Institute.

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Many parents cited safety concerns, including a high rate of road collisions in Qatar, among other issues, as a reason they rely on alternative forms of transportation for their children.

A lack of trust of bus drivers due to past tragedies also contributes to parental reluctance. In 2010 for example, a four-year-old student at the DPS-Modern Indian School died from suffocation after falling asleep in her school bus.

The driver didn’t notice her and parked the vehicle at the end of his shift, leaving it locked on a hot day.

To encourage more parents to use the school bus service – which would help clear up some of the congestion on Qatar’s roads – officials have been experimenting with a new smartphone app that would allow school buses carrying children to be tracked via GPS.

Executive director of Mowasalat Nasser Al Khanji previously told Doha News that some 80 buses from three schools would be initially outfitted with the technology as part of a three-month trial starting this month.

He added that the GPS service would eventually be rolled out to buses serving some 227 schools across the country.

Advice

In addition to offering safety tips for drivers, MOI also gives this advice for parents and children using school buses:

  • Stay out of the street and avoid excessive horseplay while waiting for the school bus;
  • Wait for the bus to completely stop before approaching it;
  • When riding the bus, the child should remain seated and keep their heads and arms inside the bus at all times;
  • Children should not shout or distract the driver;
  • Take care to avoid walking in the driver’s “blind spot” — this is the area from the front of the bus to about 10 feet in front of the bus; and
  • Parents, be present at the bus stop before and after school for extra safety.

Some residents commented on the post with further safety instructions. Guillaume Alinier said:

And all bus passengers should wear a seat belt at all times! Even from inside a large vehicle people get ejected in case of (collision)…”

Photo for illustrative purposes only.
Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Others zeroed in on bus drivers’ rights, and how their treatment may factor into children’s safety. Hemraj Khanal said:

“You think only about security and safety. But did you think about (the) driver’s salary? You look (after) childrens’ rights because he is your son and (she is your) daughter. Sometimes you (should) think about (the) driver’s rights?”

Thoughts?

4 COMMENTS

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DavidRSS8
DavidRSS8
5 years ago

I do not know what is more alarming: that drivers transporting children need to be urged to be careful OR that such urging is so unusual that it is newsworthy.

MIMH
MIMH
5 years ago

I think it is disappointing that bus drivers of children have to be reminded of this. What next? Advising surgeons to disinfect their hand before surgery!?!?

The Reporter
The Reporter
5 years ago

There are many workers who do unofficial jobs on top of their official jobs and simply don’t get enough sleep. Reminds me of the driver who took us to an environmental weekend in northern Doha a couple of years ago and had to be shouted at and prodded to keep him awake as he drove down D ring.

yesjay
yesjay
5 years ago

that pretty much sums it all up.

“You
think only about security and safety. But did you think about (the)
driver’s salary? You look (after) childrens’ rights because he is your
son and (she is your) daughter. Sometimes you (should) think about (the)
driver’s rights?”

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