Ghana grapples with disturbing uptick in school bus accidents

Source The Ghana Report

School buses are typically seen as a safe, efficient, cost-effective, and reliable mode of transportation for students in many advanced countries.

For busy parents or the average parent who may not own a car, school buses are the best alternative for young passengers.

However, the increasing number of school buses involved in road accidents, which adds to the already alarming statistics, has become a major concern.

This troubling trend has sent shockwaves through communities and raised urgent questions about the safety protocols in place and the condition of school vehicles.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) defines a school bus-related crash as any crash in which a vehicle, regardless of body design, used as a school bus is directly or indirectly involved.

According to the National Road Safety Council (NSC), tabulations of data from the (NHTSA), school bus-related crashes killed 108 people nationwide in 2021.

The data suggest that from 2012 to 2021, about 70% of the deaths in school bus-related crashes were occupants of vehicles other than the school bus, and 16% were pedestrians.

About 5% were school bus passengers, 5% were school bus drivers, and 3% were pedal cyclists.

Of the people injured in school bus-related crashes from 2012 to 2021, about 30% were school bus passengers, 9% were school bus drivers, and 53% were occupants of other vehicles.

The underlying causes of these accidents are multifaceted, with some attributing them to driver negligence and others pointing to the poor condition of the buses.

Concerns have been raised about the lack of proper maintenance and adherence to safety standards, exacerbating the risks for passengers.

In response to public outcry, the National Road Safety Authority (NRSA), in January 2023, teamed up with the National Schools Inspectorate Authority (NASIA) to launch a campaign focused on improving the roadworthiness of school vehicles.

This initiative aims to address public concerns and ensure that school buses adhere to strict safety regulations.

From buses catching fire to tragic crashes resulting in injuries and fatalities, The Ghana Report news desk seeks to bring to the fore some of the accidents involving school buses.

In no particular order.

School Bus Catches Fire At Akatsi Agbedrafor Junction

In October 2023, a bus carrying Akatsi Senior High Technical School athletes got burnt completely at Akatsi in the Volta Region.

There were no casualties or injuries in the incident that happened on Saturday, October 7, 2023.

The students participated in the 47th inter-zonal festival at Sogakope and were returning to campus when their bus developed a fault at Akatsi Agbedrafor junction.

Fortunately, all the passengers were able to get off before the fire consumed the bus.

30 Pupils Injured After School Bus Falls Into River At Atwima-Kwanwoma

In June 2023, about 30 pupils were rushed to the hospital after their school bus plunged into a river at Atwima Boko in the Atwima Kwanwoma District of the Ashanti Region.

The accident occurred on Monday, June 5, 2023, while the bus was conveying the pupils of Divine Charisma International School.

According to some parents, the bus fell from a dilapidated bridge along its regular route on the road and ended up in a river under the said bridge.

The father of two victims who spoke to the media said the children were rushed to the Akoma Specialist Hospital in the area for treatment.

School Pupils Dead & Injured In Ghastly Accident

In November 2022, at least four school children met their untimely death in a ghastly crash on the Terchire-Adrobaa stretch in the Tano North District of Bono Region.

Three of the pupils died on the spot while another was pronounced dead at the hospital shortly after arrival.

The deceased were two males and two females.

Also, several others were left in critical condition in the accident involving an old Benz school bus with registration number AW 6345-11.

The bus was transporting about 42 pupils of the DS Elite Academy when the car slid off the newly constructed Adrobaa road.

Eyewitnesses narrated that the driver slid off the slippery road upon getting to a sharp curve, causing the car to somersault.

STC Bus Carrying Students Somersaults At Gomoa Buduatta

In April 2023, an STC bus with registration number GT-1079-20 carrying Senior High School (SHS) students from Kasoa to Cape Coast crashed at Gomoa Buduatta junction in the Central Region.

It is reported that the bus driver lost control of the steering and collided with a speeding tipper truck from Winneba and somersaulted.

Reports indicate that the students onboard the bus were from various schools in the Central Region.

The incident occurred on Monday morning (April 17, 2023).

Some of the victims were rescued, while others were still trapped in the mangled bus as of the early hours of the accident.

Six people, including the bus driver, and some students sustained various degrees of injury.

No deaths were recorded.

14 Pupils Injured After School Bus Falls Into A Ditch

In November 2022, at least 14 pupils of the Great Faith Rockery School in Kumasi were injured after their school bus was involved in a road accident.

Four of the injured were sent to a private hospital at Ahodwo, whilst the other 10 were transferred to the Asokwa Children’s Hospital.

According to reports, the driver lost control of the steering wheel, and the bus somersaulted and landed in a ditch close to the Subin River on the Asokwa-Ahodwo road.

Three School Children Burnt To Death With One Injured As Car Bursts Into Flames At Huu

In June 2023, three children were burnt to death after a commercial vehicle carting fuel for sale caught fire at Huu in Amansie Central District of the Ashanti Region.

The children were aged 5, 6, and 7 years old.

The 207 Mercedes Benz bus was transporting diesel and petrol to Edwenase in the same district with passengers on board.

The three children were among twelve pupils being transported to their home in Edwenase after their school bus developed a fault on the way.

Their teacher who was escorting the students on the bus pleaded with the bus driver to aid in transporting the children home.

But the bus caught fire along the way, burning the three children beyond recognition.

School bus crash; Pupils escape unhurt

In August 2016, some school children of the St Lious Rainbow Complex at Mango Lane, off the Accra- Kasoa road, escaped death, in the early hours of Friday (August 19, 2016) when the bus conveying them to school somersaulted.

Numbering about 50, the children, the majority between the ages of seven to 14 years, got trapped in the bus, causing them to shout for help.

The incident, which happened at the first traffic light heading to the Weija dam and Oblogo township in Accra, brought movement and activities along the road to a halt as residents and passengers went to the aid of the children.

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