KUALA LUMPUR: School bus drivers are entrusted to take children from home to school.
Vehicle inspection specialist Puspakom figures showed that 42 per cent out of 40,124 school buses are not fit to be on the road.
It said about 16,700 buses failed basic road safety checks for poor braking system and balding tyres last year.
"Bus drivers do not put road safety first. They transport thousands of children everyday on poorly maintained vehicles," said Puspakom chief executive officer Khairudin Yusoff.
He feels one way to curb such irresponsible act was for parents to ensure the buses were safe for their children.
"They could play a bigger role by keeping an eye on the condition of the tyres or the sound of the brake.
"They could also talk with the driver. It is good to know."
He urged parents to call Puspakom to check the condition of a bus.
This is because about 13,000 buses were caught running on bald tyres last year, while another 9,000 had poor braking systems.
The rest did not pass the test because of excessive black smoke, corroded floorboards and damaged passenger seats.
Khairuddin is worried as the number of busses not passing the tests remains almost the same every year.
In 2007, there were about 15,200 buses that failed the tests which are held every six months for commercial vehicles.
Each driver pays RM65 per inspection of their vehicle, which goes through stringent roadworthiness checks.
The buses have to pass the test to renew their road tax.
He said Puspakom's top priority was the children's safety and he hoped drivers would "shoulder the responsibility".
Most of these buses are also allowed to take tourists on long distance trips. This is usually done by drivers who want to earn extra money during the school holidays.
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