March 22, 2019

Mummy, is that school bus safe? – Emeka Nwolisa

Mummy, is that school bus safe? – Emeka Nwolisa

Nursery and primary schools have been opening in droves all over the country.

They come with catchy names and there is often ‘international’ or ‘Montessori’ somewhere in their  name even if the school is just an L- shaped structure somewhere in a slum.

Well, let’s leave the names for another day, after all people in the music industry answer Commander, Captain and  General even though they have never been anywhere near the gates of a military academy.

Every day on the roads and in most towns and cities, you will find, in the mornings and late afternoons, buses filled with loads of children in it.

Most of these buses have names and logos of schools boldly written on them. Often, in their pitch for students, availability of these buses is a major selling point for the school. But then can these buses be truly called school buses? Sadly no.

A school bus, ideally, should be a  purpose-built vehicle distinguished from other types of buses by its design. In addition to the use of a vehicle-specific paint colour, school buses are fitted with exterior warning lights and multiple safety devices. ‘School bus yellow’ is a  blend of the colour yellow that is specifically formulated for use on school buses. This was first put to use in North America in 1939. The colour is now officially known in Canada and the U.S. as National School Bus Glossy Yellow.

The colour Yellow gets people’s attention faster than any other colour. People notice yellow objects fast. Even when you are looking straight ahead, you can see a yellow object that is not in front of you “in the corners of your eyes” much sooner than any other colour. Even the colour red is not this distinct. Your ability to detect the  colour yellow with your ‘corner eye’ as we say in Naija is 1.24 times greater than for red. Yellow or greenish-yellow is also more visible to the human eye under dim conditions compared to red.

In bad weather drivers will still be able to see the yellow painted school bus and know to slow down and be mindful of the children on board, being dropped off, or picked up.

This is the same principle that influenced  the  painting of  many earth-moving, construction, road-building and other outdoor machines yellow. The yellow colour stands out, increases visibility and reduces the risk of accidents significantly.

In addition to its unique colour of paint  school buses should  also be equipped with a minimum of at least one emergency exit in addition to the main entry door. Additional exits may be located in the roof (roof hatches), window exits, and/or side emergency exit doors.

So, time for truth telling, Oga  Montessori or International school proprietor does your school really have a school bus. Oga or madam parent, is your child carried every school day in a school bus ? Think about it and please don’t tell me the answer is blowing  in the wind.

Let’s keep our children safe.  A stitch in time they say saves nine.

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