The National Assembly, on Wednesday 8th June, approved new regulations for Kenyan School Buses after passing the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2016. However, the Assembly’s approval awaits a nod from the president.
The new regulations as sponsored by Laisamis MP Joseph Lekuton states that all Kenyan School Buses will be painted yellow with their school names written in black.
The bill also contains a wide range of safety enhancement rules including that all buses including non-school buses transporting children would be fitted with seat belts designed specifically for children use. The school buses will be prohibited from operating between 10 pm and 5 am.
Also, a speed limit of 50 km/h will be set on ALL vehicles approaching any school.
The Assembly also acknowledged the school bus safety rules set by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) which requires that the training and selection of school bus drivers should be thorough and uncompromising.
According to the rule, School drivers are to successfully undergo a written or oral test which will cover a range of topics from traffic rules to bus operating procedures and basic first aid tips in case of a road emergency.
The NTSA rule also calls for the need for consistent re-training and reevaluation of the drivers to in order to verify their constant proficiency and eliminate the possibility of endangering the lives of young pupils.
The NTSA also notes that the Parents Teachers Association (PTA) should be involved in the driver recruitment process.
Non-school buses that regularly transport school children were exempted from the stringent rules but asked to strictly adhere to traffic laws to avoid penalty.
The National Assembly pointed out that vehicles that disobey the new regulations would be liable to punishment that would include a fine of not more than Sh30,000 and/or incarceration for at least 2 months.
Part of the Bill states:
“A person who being the registered owner or driver of a vehicle used for transporting children, who authorises or permits the use of a vehicle used for transporting children or is negligent to prevent contravention with this Act commits an offence and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months, or to both.”
The assembly vested rights on police officers to issue defaulters a notification on the grounds of a traffic offence.
“The police notification shall require the person to attend the court to answer such charge as may be preferred within 48 hours of service of the notification,” the Bill said.