Chinese debate school bus safety draft rule

Updated: 2012-01-17 09:25


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BEIJING - The soliciting of public opinion on the draft regulation on school bus safety management recently concluded after registering 7,030 pieces of advice in a month, according to a statement released on Monday by the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council.

China released the draft regulation on December 11, 2011, and invited public opinion -- the latest move in China's efforts to improve school bus safety following a string of accidents.

The statement from the Legislative Affairs Office listed the ten most debated topics, including whether to offer school bus services to preschoolers and high school students, whether to carry on with mergers of rural schools, whether to require schools to purchase high-end school buses, and whether to raise standards for school bus drivers, among other topics.

The most controversial topic was whether to slow the ongoing merger of rural schools, which has resulted in more and more children having to travel farther to get to school. Some people insist on getting children to schools in the vicinity of their homes, while others argue that mergers are a must as schools that are too small cannot ensure the quality of education.

Similar dilemmas exist as high-end buses and high-caliber drivers may be ideal, but unattainable in under-developed regions.

The statement said the office is rigorously studying public opinion, and will adjust the regulation accordingly.

A school bus overturned and fell into a ditch on December 12, 2011 in east China's Jiangsu province, killing 15 people. An initial probe indicated that the bus' driver was driving the vehicle too fast and did not respond properly while trying to avoid a pedicab coming from the opposite direction.

Another 21 people were killed in a school bus accident that occurred in west China's Gansu province on November 16, 2011.