Assembly questions… and answers!

14 04 2010

The DVA are clearly something akin to an Echelon interception system – out there day and night, monitoring traffic and detecting harm long before it arises.

What? No wait, that’s wrong. I’ll try that again.

The DVA are clearly NOT something akin to an Echelon interception system – out there day and night, monitoring traffic and detecting harm long before it arises.

But they should be doing a better monitoring job than at present. Because they have an important role when it comes to safe-guarding children.

Mervyn Storey asked the DoE Minister how many buses, carrying school children, have been found to be defective in each of the last three years.

Check out the data for the year up to March 15 2010.

It showed that in four of six counties there were NO checks carried out on buses carrying school children. That’s right, no enforcement officers attached to the Driver & Vehicle Agency were checking school buses.

So if you live in Armagh, Fermanagh, Antrim or Londonderry you will have no idea how safe the transport is which you are sending your kids to school in – because no one from the DVA is checking. Oh and only one bus has been checked in Londonderry in three years.

Not hugely reassuring.

If you’re at all worried by this, move to county Down. They consistently have the highest levels of monitoring in place.

PS. In 2007/2008, the DVA spot checked 146 buses. Last year it was 25.

PPS. Of the 25 buses that were checked last year, seven were found to be defective. When 25% to 30% of all school buses checked are found to be defective its surely a major public safety issue.

Despite all the other standards and commitments bus companies must comply with to gain a Road Service Licence, high levels of monitoring are obviously required. Increasing monitoring will reduce likelihood of accident, but decreasing monitoring will have the opposite effect. So why tolerate the decline?

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