By KASONDE KASONDE
SOME operators engaged by schools to transport pupils have developed a trend of overloading children in buses, the Road Transport and Safety Agency (RTSA) has said.
RTSA said operators engaged by school authorities to ferry pupils risked being prosecuted and their vehicles impounded if they continued to abrogate traffic rules.
RTSA head of public relations Fredrick Mubanga said the agency would not take lightly any traffic offenders especially those entrusted with the lives of the children.
Mr Mubanga said the agency had intensified road patrols and were targeting school buses following observations and reports from members of the public that the buses were overloaded.
“We have intensified road patrols on all the routes because we have received reports from members of the public that pupils’ lives are being endangered as the bus drivers were overloading while some are in
bad conditions,” Mr Mubanga said.
He said it was unfortunate that most of the school buses had no seatbelts and due to overloading, the pupils were made to stand the whole journeys.
Mr Mubanga advised parents to ensure that children’s lives were not endangered by taking time to check the condition of the buses before they allowed their children to get on board.
He said during yesterday’s operation, RTSA officers were sensitizing and educating both the bus drivers and the pupils on safety measures and only one bus was impounded for overloading while the others were warned.
Mr Mubanga said the patrol programme especially on school buses would be rolled out to the rest of the country.
He said the agency wanted to be proactive by ensuring that accidents were prevented from happening instead of waiting for the worst to happen.
Mr Mubanga said the agency wanted to improve the road traffic rules compliance among motorists to prevent accidents and safeguard lives.