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17 April 2024

Seatbelts must in all Abu Dhabi school buses


By Sneha May Francis

In its bid to enhance the safety and security of its young passengers, the School Transport Executive Committee in Abu Dhabi announced on Monday that all school buses must have seatbelts.

This is one of many new regulations passed.

All school bus operators shall equip new buses, prior registration, with three-point safety seat belts, regardless of the number of its seats.

The regulation also requires the operators of current school buses, which have 22 seats and below, to provide three-point safety seat belts in their buses.

Operators of current school buses that have more than 22 seats must equip their school buses with two-point safety seat belts.

School bus drivers will also have to pass operational medical examinations when applying for the job. The Committee has also adopted an integrated training program to qualify school bus drivers and escorts.

The Committee adopted the operational medical tests as a prerequisite for school bus driver job applicants to determine their medical fitness to practice this profession.

Conducted by Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), the medical tests will include vision check-up (visual acuity and colour vision), complete blood count, Hepatitis B surface antigen, fasting glucose, glycated haemoglobin, renal function test, audiometry and electrocardiogram. As per these regulations, the operators will bear Dh750 fee to issue the applicant a medical certificate valid for 2 years (if applicant does not leave UAE on vacation).

Those applicants who return from vacations outside UAE will have to pass medical fitness examinations for a fee of Dh250 paid by the operator.

These examinations will be limited to basic medical and preventive tests to ensure that the applicants are free from any contagious diseases or conditions that may affect public safety.

“The committee adopted these new regulations after conducting a thorough study, and is found to be pertinent to the safety and security of our students,” stated brigadier Hussein Al Harthi, director of Traffic and Patrol Directorate at Abu Dhabi Police and Chairman of the School Transport Executive Committee.

The Committee also implemented regulations to train school bus drivers and escorts, and provide them with all necessary information, practical experience and professional knowledge that will help them promote the safety of students.

To this end, special training manuals for school bus drivers and escorts were prepared in collaboration among the Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Education Council, Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council and Emirates Driving Company.

The training courses include lessons on the daily technical examinations of the school bus, in addition to courses on traffic safety measures while driving and when picking up or dropping off the students. The training manuals also cover the subject of bus evacuation in emergencies.

The Committee has also been working with Abu Dhabi Quality and Conformity Council to provide all the training manuals for school bus drivers and escorts with all the theoretical knowledge and practical courses that ensure the highest quality and safety standards for school transport as part of its commitment to the international best practices in this field.