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21 deaths prompt school bus security check

(Xinhua)

08:12, November 23, 2011

BEIJING - With special inspection teams set up at all provincial-level governments, school bus safety checks have started across the country just days after a collision claimed the lives of 19 preschoolers on an overloaded bus, according to the Ministry of Education.

In an initial safety check, Beijing's municipal education commission found that some private schools' and kindergartens' buses were overloaded, and many private cars swarming to pick up children after school could also result in traffic disorders outside schools, according to a statement released Tuesday by the ministry.

Beijing has ordered its schools and kindergartens to keep clear records of safety inspections for all their buses and to arrange safety training courses for school bus drivers.

Twenty-one people, including 19 preschoolers and two adults, died and 43 others were injured last Wednesday morning when a nine-seat school bus illegally carrying 64 people collided head-on with a coal truck in Northwest China's Gansu province.

In Shanghai, a total of 2,300 school buses will undergo comprehensive checks, including vehicle sanitation and control equipment inspections, by November 25. So far, 15 buses have been found to be operating illegally, and they have been ordered to rectify their illegal operations, said the statement.

In addition to regular safety checks, eastern Jiangsu province held meetings for school bus drivers to exchange experiences on driving children. Meanwhile, the education commission of southwestern Chongqing Municipality arranged for special personnel to anonymously spot-check school bus operations at middle and elementary schools.

In the statement, the ministry also urged education bureaus at all levels as well as all schools and kindergartens to map out emergency plans against traffic accidents.

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