Now check-in buttons in school buses
1,300 buses will be fully-fitted with the devices when classes begin this September.
Abu Dhabi - They will enable driver to check every seat and confirm no child is left in the bus.
In the next academic year, public school buses will have ID card readers, check-in button and a body sensor as part of safety measures to ensure that no student is left inside the bus.
According to the Emirates Transport Company (ETC), which provides transportation services for public schools, the check-in button will be installed at the end of the bus to enable the driver to check each and every seat and confirm that no child is left in the bus. The body sensor will also alert the driver if a child is still on board after switching-off the engine. The new technology upgrade will also include a "loop counter" that shows the exact number of students inside the Kindergarten and Cycle 1 (KG-Grade 5) buses.
Mohammed Al Jarman, general manager of ETC, said installation of these technologies in Kindergarten and Cycle 1 school buses has already started, noting that 1,300 buses will be fully-fitted with the devices when classes begin this September.
The new requirements for school transport were made by the Abu Dhabi Education Council (Adec) in efforts to safeguard the students. The council has strengthened its regulation following cases in the past where very young pupils died after falling asleep and were left locked inside their school bus for hours.
The recent incident occurred on October 7 last year, when kindergarten student Nizha Aalaa died of heat exhaustion and suffocation after she was "forgotten" and locked inside her school bus. The driver and attendant failed to check and ensure the bus was empty before locking it. She was three years and eight months old at that time.
The ETC has also imported 200 new buses to modernise its school bus fleet. Mohammed Salem Al Dhaheri, Adec executive director of school operations, has approved 100 buses, including 27 vehicles equipped with facilities to transfer students with a mobility disability.
According to Adec projections, the new academic year would require a minimum of 72 buses due to the increase in the number of students and establishment of new residential areas, which would require extra buses to reduce travel time of students.
As part of the overall efforts to safeguard students, the ETC said it will carry out training sessions for bus drivers and supervisors to familiarise them on the regulation changes, bus routes and new residential areas.