Children in Dubai who catch the bus to school could soon be carrying satellite tracking devices so that parents and the authorities know where they are.
The personal tracking cards will alert a control centre when the kids get on or off a school bus and mums and dads will be able to log on to a computer to check kids’ location.
The new system, ‘Smart School Bus’, invented by vehicle tracking company SamTech, is being considered by Dubai authorities.
CEO Samir Abdulhadi told 7DAYS: “People are not sending their children to schools on the bus because they think it is not safe. The tracking system was previously for cars but now it enables you to track everything that moves, even your kid.”
Parents will get SMS messages when the bus is about to arrive in the morning and another when it is time to meet the bus after school.
In 2010, a Dubai mum claimed that three Indian men raped her four-year-old daughter who was the last child on the bus. The men were found not guilty. Smart school buses will have video cameras on board and footage will be available to be viewed if necessary.
Abdulhadi said: “Footage can be presented to the police or RTA. It is there for prevention and protection.” He added: “We have completed a pilot scheme in conjunction with the RTA and three schools.”
Using the new system, drivers will use a barcode scanner to confirm they have checked the fuel level, oil, tyres, lights, wipers and the A/C before each journey.
The bus will also have state-of-the-art anti-theft devices and a speed regulator. Real-time GPS tracking and an emergency panic button will mean emergency services can quickly be at the scene of any incident.
Dubai British School principal Mark Ford said he would support the system. He added: “Any communication to parents to keep them updated on the whereabouts of their child will go a long way to reassure parents about their child’s safety. If parents feel more comfortable with children using school buses, more parents will use them. This will have a huge impact on traffic on and around school sites, which can only be a positive thing.”
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