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NW China province demands GPS installed in school buses after fatal accident

(Xinhua)

15:08, December 25, 2011

LANZHOU, Dec. 24 (Xinhua) -- Schools in northwest China's Gansu province were asked to install Global Position System (GPS) in school buses in the authorities' latest move to strengthen school transport safety after a fatal accident that killed 19 children last month.

The positioning equipment allows the transportation safety watchdogs to monitor the location and the speed of school buses, said education officials with provincial government on Saturday.

In addition, stricter rules are applied for school buses and their drivers. Schools must take responsibility of safe transportation of students while local work safety administrations, usually tasked to monitor work place safety, are asked to include school bus safety under their watch.

A nine-seat school bus illegally carrying 64 people collided head-on with a coal truck in Gansu on Nov. 16, killing 19 preschoolers, two adults and injuring 43 others. The accident stirred up tremendous national concerns over the safety of school transportation sector.

Schools are few in the vast and sparsely populated rural areas of China. School buses are themselves relatively new, as children in years past would typically hike rugged roads to attend school.

Premier Wen Jiabao has called on government departments to "rapidly" draft safety regulations and standards for school buses while further improving the design, production and distribution of the vehicles.

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