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Seven vehicles impounded in scholar transport operation at Blossom Primary School in Athlone / 22 January 2015

This morning, I attended a Scholar Transport Operation conducted by the City of Cape Town Traffic Services, in partnership with Safely Home, at Blossom Primary School in Athlone. This was just one of many such operations conducted by City of Cape Town Traffic Services in and around the Metro area, targeting driver fitness, as well as the roadworthiness of scholar transport vehicles.

 

The operations are conducted in areas where the conditions under which scholars are being transported to and from school, are contrary to those envisaged by the National Land Transport Act (NLTA). The NLTA requires vehicles to be roadworthy and appropriate for the transportation of scholars, as well as for operators to be in possession of the necessary documentation/authority in order to carry out this function.

 

Adherence to these legal requirements ensures that children are transported to their schools in an environment conducive to their safety.

 

At this morning’s operation, I witnessed many children still being transported under very dangerous and unacceptable circumstances. The vehicles involved were either unroadworthy, had various defects, or were overloaded. Some were driven by drivers that were not appropriately licensed to perform such an important function. This poses a serious threat to the safety of all the children who are forced to travel under such adverse conditions.

 

At the Blossom Primary School operation this morning:

 

·        7 vehicles were impounded,

·        One driver was immediately arrested after being found to have 25 outstanding warrants,

·        7 drivers were operating without the necessary permits,

·        4 drivers were transporting children without a Professional Driver’s Permit (PrDP),

·        10 drivers were unlicensed, with another 10 failing to carry their driver’s licences,

·        11 vehicles were overloaded,

·        15 vehicles had safety belt violations.

 

I am encouraged by the keen interest that Blossom Primary School has taken in the safety of their learners, working closely with officials to identify issues and addressing them appropriately. Province, law enforcement, schools and parents can and must, through partnerships, do more to ensure that scholar transport is safer, and that our young children are protected from continued and unacceptable dangers.

 

Scholar Transport Safety Tips for Parents:

 

When contracting privately with scholar transport operators, parents must:

 

1.     Take every practical step to ensure that the transport provided is safe;

2.     Ensure that the driver of their children is properly authorised to perform this function, including being in possession of a valid driver’s licence, a Professional Driver’s Permit, and a roadworthy certificate for their vehicles (as is required by law).

 

The City of Cape Town Traffic Services, Provincial Traffic and Safely Home will continue to do all we can to ensure the safety of children on our roads.

 

For more information on Safely Home’s road safety initiatives targeted at the safety of children, visit www.safelyhome.westerncape.gov.za or follow the campaign on Twitter @WCGovSafelyHome, under the hashtag #SafeRoadsSafeKids

 

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