A county in Hubei province has taken several technical measures to keep children safe on school buses.
Liu Wenfeng, manager of the school bus service on the Chongyang Transportation Company, said the new buses have infrared detectors that can raise an alarm if a student is left locked inside.
"Once the detection system finds any living body, it will automatically sound an alarm while sending photos of the real-time situation to the monitoring center," he said.
About 190 new school buses with security equipment operated safely during tests over the past week in Chongyang county of Xianning, Hubei province.
Students also need to swipe a card on the new buses, which will alert their parents and teachers by mobile phone when they get on or off, he added.
On May 30, in Wanning, Hainan province, a 4-year-boy fell asleep on a school bus and was left by his teacher. The temperature was as high as 32 C that day and the boy was found after about three hours. He died due to heat stroke, the local newspaper Nanguo City News reported.
From 2006 to 2017, about 20 children died due to suffocation or long exposure to the sun after being forgotten in locked cars or school buses across China in provinces like Shandong, Hebei, Hainan and Hunan, based on previous reports.
In Chongyang, the new smart buses cover 84 primary schools and kindergartens.
Liu, the manager, said that the transportation company has made it so the buses are operated and managed in a unified manner, which is safer.
"Before, school bus owners were individuals and didn't have proper management manners or effective monitoring technology, which posed potential risks to children's security," he said.
In addition to detecting forgotten children, another system can monitor improper behavior of the driver such as speeding, smoking, road inattention or making a phone call while driving.
"The smart monitoring system has a communication platform," Liu said. "We can directly call the driver through the platform instead of by phone to warn him about his bad behavior."
Besides these technical measures, the county has also enhanced security by requiring drivers to apply for extra school bus driving certification with the public security department.
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