According to a Bill tabled by Laisamis MP Joseph Lekuton, school buses will now be painted yellow with institution names written in black and have other signage as may be prescribed, in a wide range of changes aimed at enhancing safety.
The new regulations are contained in the Traffic (Amendment) Bill 2016, passed in the National Assembly on Wednesday and is awaiting presidential assent.
According to the Bill, a motor vehicle designated to transport children to or from school, or for any non-school related activity, when they are in a group, shall be fitted with safety belts designed to be used by children.
The speed limit of all vehicles approaching learning institutions has been fixed at 50km per hour.
School buses will be barred from operating between 10pm and 5am.
If signed into law, the bill will safeguard the lives of pupils who sometimes find themselves in the hands of rogue drivers.
Other vehicles that regularly transport school children but are not school buses are, however, exempted from the stringent rules but will be required to adhere to traffic rules.
Any person who contravenes the new provisions commits an offense and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding Sh30,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months, or both.
“A person who being the registered owner or driver of a vehicle used for transporting children, who authorizes or permits the use of a vehicle used for transporting children or is negligent to prevent contravention with this Act commits an offense and shall be liable to a fine not exceeding thirty thousand shillings or imprisonment for a term not exceeding two months, or to both,” reads the Bill.
The Bill prescribes that a police officer shall serve upon the person driving or in charge of a vehicle and who commits an offense under the Act, with a police notification of traffic offense.
“The police notification shall require the person to attend the court to answer such charge as may be preferred within 48 hours of service of the notification.”
According to information by the National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA) school bus safety rules, school driver recruitment should involve the Parents Teachers Association representation and the school administration due to the important responsibility that is entrusted those persons.