Rust Buckets That Pass For School Vans
By Imaad Majeed
Pictures by Pavithra Jovan De Mello
While the number of accidents have been increasing of late, little attention has been paid to the state of vehicles on the road. Aside from emission tests, there is no system for assessing the condition of vehicles, particularly school vans.
Children are put at risk day in and day out, when they travel in rickety rust buckets that pass off for transportation.
What is frightening is the lack of concern on the part of school van drivers and parents of school going children. From minor issues such as missing signal lights to rust covered doors and worn out tires, the hazards are many.
Yet there is no body established to govern the condition of school vans, neither the department of motor vehicles nor the ministry of education have shown any regard for this matter.
Recently the minimum age for school van drivers was raised to thirty. This may well be a good enough step initially, but the problem does not end there. After all, the condition of the vehicles also plays a major part and not just the age of the driver. The Sunday Leader visited leading schools in Colombo to capture pictures of the vehicles used for transporting children. All were in appalling condition.