Like many places, France has spent the last twenty years closing its rural schools. So instead of walking to school, kids have to pile into the school bus. Fine so far.
Like many places, France has really got into road safety recently. They've discovered radar traps in a big way, they have road safety weeks, and they're getting tougher on drink driving. great stuff.
In particular, they've decided that seat belts are a 'good thing'. Unless that is you live in rural areas. A new law last year insists that everyone has to wear a seat belt on school buses, with certain exceptions. Basically, if you are a child, the organisers can get away with gross negligence even to the point of the death of a child with impunity.
The law's exceptions consider that kids travelling two to a seat without seat belts 15k into school on winding winter roads is OK. OK!! What are these people on? Can you imagine the damage to a three-year old flying through the inside of a minibus as it brakes even at 25 mph?
Great for a child-friendly country! It's complete pants, and yet those who have the moral rsponsibility and the opportunity to give every child a seat and a seat belt are so complacent it makes me wretch.
Go to the top, you say. Sort it out once and for all. Great idea...
The great Jaques Barrot, until recently President of the Haute-Loire and then ultimately responsible for school transport thinks it's OK! He thinks that this situation doesn't affect the security of the kids. He's so cool with this, HE EVEN WROTE IT DOWN IN A LETTER!
The big joke is that this guy is now deputy of the European Commission with the Transport Portfolio. I'm so not glad that the European Commission now has such a tight-fisted man of complacency with contemptable views on children's lives as a leader.
Please say a prayer for the children of rural France.