School Bus Safety Rules in India

School bus is undoubtedly the most convenient means of student transportation. But unfortunately, there are a number of school bus safety issues faced by students travelling by school vehicles. Hence, there are a number of laws in place for ensuring safety.

The Road and Transport Authority (RTA) summarized the benefits of these laws as providing comfort, security and safety for students and parents alike. These benefits include reaching school on time, reducing pollution emission resulting from vehicle exhausts and reducing traffic jams.

Direction of the Supreme Court of India for School Bus

  • School Bus” must be written on the back and front of the Bus.
  • If it is a hired bus, “On School Duty” should be clearly indicated
  • Bus must have a First-Aid-Box.
  • The windows of Bus must be fitted with horizontal grills.
  • There must be a Fire Extinguisher in the Bus.
  • School Name and Telephone No. must be written on the Bus.
  • The doors of the Bus should be fitted with reliable locks.
  • To keep School Bags safely, there should be a space-fitted under the seats.
  • There must be an Attendant from the School in the Bus. School bus and vans should be fitted with speed governors with maximum speed limit of 40 km/h.
  • The body of School bus shall be highway yellow color with a horizontal strip in green color of 150mm width in the middle all around the vehicle and the words ‘SCHOOL BUS’ must be prominently displayed on all four sides of the vehicle.
  • If age of school children is below 12 years, the number of children carried shall not exceed 1½ times the permitted seating capacity. Children above 12 years shall be treated as one person.
  • The driver of a school van must have valid licence to drive LMV-Transport Vehicles for a period of at least four years and compulsorily wear a light blue shirt, light blue trousers and black shoes. His name ID be displayed on the shirt.
  • There must be enough space provided to keep school bags inside the vehicle and the bags should not be hung outside the vehicle or placed on roof carriers.
  • The bus driver must carry a complete list of the children being ferried in the school bus, indicating the name, class, residential address, blood group and the points of stoppage, route plan, etc.
  • In case of kindergarten, if an authorized person recognized mutually by the school and parents, does not come to pick the child from the stop points and such, the child shall be taken back to the school and their parents should be called.

Latest Additions

Because of the incidents happening around, there have been rules made on school bus management by the concerned authorities in India to assure safety and secure ride for the students and relief for parents.

  • GPS and CCTV have been made compulsory in school buses. Installation of CCTV in school premises are made compulsory. 
  • The footage of the CCTV must be kept for 60 days and must be handed over to the police in case of any investigation purpose. GPS has been declared compulsory by Central Board of Secondary Education.
  • School bus drivers are restricted to have interaction with students beyond a limit in school bus and socializing with students is also limited.
  • Entering school grounds are restricted to authorized people. Any person suspicious entering the school premises will be reported without fail.
  • ID cards are issued to parents, which must be bought while picking up their children. If they cannot come for picking up their children, an SMS must be sent authorizing another person to pick them up.

Under section 188 Act of the Indian Penal Code, any failure on the school’s behalf to obey these new rules and regulations can lead to punishment.

More and more rules are coming in to light for the better travel experience of students.


Standard Requirements for School Buses in India

  • All school buses in India are mandated to have an external color of Golden Yellow. This color shall be as per IS 5 -1994 (as amended from time to time)
  • For Identification, a band of 150mm wide of ‘Golden Brown ‘color might be provided on all sides of the bus below the window level
  • Two emergency exits are mandatory on all school buses in India. One on the rear half of the bus on the right hand side and on the rear side of the bus. Children should be trained to operate these doors.
  • Whenever the bus passenger door or one of the emergency exits is open, the bus should be incapable of motion. The driver should get an indication of the doors being open by means of flashing light/buzzer or other suitable means.
  • The lowest footstep height shall not be more than 220mm from ground. The bus should be incapable of motion without folding or retracting the steps
  • All seats other than the ones facing the passenger step well should be forward facing.  Also, a partition should be provided to the seat facing the step well.
  • Stopping signals, a hazard warning and a stop signal arm should operate whenever the passenger door opens.
  • A tamper-proof speed governor that complies with the requirements of Rule 118 of CMV (A)R 1989 should be provided to ensure the driver doesn’t cross the speed limit.

Any parent/guardian or a teacher may also travel to ensure these safety norms.

Responsibilities of Students and Parents:

Parents and students shall assume the following responsibilities:

  • Parents have to deliver their children to the school bus or the assembly point at the specified time. If there is a delay on their part, parents have to deliver their children to the school, without holding the driver accountable.
  • Parents should help in training and educating their children on the importance of traffic safety, and how to wait and ride the school bus.
  • Parents should notify the school administration of any offence or negligence from the driver.
  • The driver may return the students to the school if no one came to collect them upon returning at home, under the responsibility of the parents.
  • Students should maintain the bus cleanness and notify the school management or their parents of any offences committed by the driver or students.

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