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Last Updated: Monday, 20 June, 2005, 17:06 GMT 18:06 UK
Crash parents 'assured' on safety
Stuart Cunningham-Jones
Stuart's parents have campaigned for safer buses
The parents of a boy killed in a school bus crash say the education minister has reassured them of her commitment to a review of school transport safety.

David Cunningham Jones, father of Stuart, 12, said he was initially disappointed with response to a call for sweeping safety improvements.

But after a meeting on MOnday, Jane Davidson pledged a full review of school transport safety.

The Cunningham Joneses have campaigned for safer buses since Stuart's death.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS:
Seatbelts for all children
An end to three children sharing two seats
CCTV cameras on board
Supervision on buses
No double-deckers

Stuart was the only child killed when a bus carrying 75 pupils home from Cowbridge Comprehensive School in the Vale of Glamorgan, crashed in 2002.

The vehicle fell in to a field and came to rest on its side after hitting a tree. Stuart was sitting at the front of the top deck.

An inquest jury returned a verdict of accidental death, believing the crash was happened because of interference with the steering wheel. The hearing heard the bus driver describe how a child grabbed the wheel seconds before the crash.

An assembly committee set up to look into safety on school buses after the crash, came up with a list of more than 30 recommendations, including seatbelts for all pupils and the scrapping of double-deckers.

But Ms Davidson said many buses could not be fitted with seatbelts and the assembly did not have the power to ban double-deckers.

the bus which crashed
There were 75 children on board

Other recommendations, like the practice of seating three children on a seat designed for two adults, were the responsibility of the UK Government, she said.

Before the meeting on Monday, Ms Davidson had said she could not force councils to bring in changes but would issue guidance.

Afterwards, Mr Cunningham Jones said: "It was very vague on what she was going to do and how she was going to implement it.

"We had reassurance today that they are fully committed to full-scale review and endorse all the procedures that were in the report."

Stuart's parents also said they were "more hopeful" after the discussion with Ms Davidson but said "the proof the pudding is getting best practice guidelines out to local authorities and then using it in a fulsome way".

"The campaign continues until we see the local authorities fully endorse the best practice issues," he added.




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