Image: Founder of Wheel Well Peggie Mars with Dekra South Africa CEO Garth Johnson.
There has been a spate of bus and mini bus taxi crashes lately where children were hurt and killed. It is an outrage. Safety is a basic human right and it includes the right to safety in and around vehicles. We as adults are the custodians of children, they are our most vulnerable road users.
Our children have to use school transport, go on school outings and sports events. As parents, we have to entrust our children to the drivers and the vehicles used.
Some things stood out for me when I read the articles and comments on these tragic crashes. Vehicles are not road worthy, parents are angry at authorities and they feel helpless. For the authorities to change things for the better is going to take time, by its very nature government moves slowly. What can we do in the meantime to give parents some respite on their angst and worry for the safety of their children in these vehicles?
It is simply not practical to send vehicles for a road safety inspection every time you need to use them. It is however very doable to inspect vehicles before children get into them.
As parents and teachers do we even know where to start with something like this?
With the help of the Dekra Automotive, experts in vehicle safety and road worthiness as well as a beloved supporter of Wheel Well, we have compiled a basic pre-trip inspection sheet for lay persons as far as vehicles are concerned.
All you need to do is to have the pre-trip inspection sheet handy and work your way around the outside and inside of the bus or mini bus. The sheet is designed to highlight visible defects of the vehicle and shortcomings of the driver and is by no means an exhaustive road worthiness test. But, serious road worthy issues will come to light and a decision can be made whether that vehicle will be used or not.
Parents, teachers and child minders are encouraged to make use of this tool. It is a free service brought to you by Wheel Well and Dekra in the interest of children in road safety.
Peggie and team
Credit: Jenny Holt