Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


School bus trial aims to save children’s lives


MEDIA RELEASE 28 August 2013

School bus trial aims to save children’s lives

Saving the lives of school children is the aim of a national trial launched in Ashburton today (Wednesday 28 August) to get motorists to slow down when passing a school bus stopped to let children on or off.

Thirty school buses in Mid Canterbury have been fitted front and back with flashing 20km/h signs - the legal speed limit when passing a stationary school bus - to get drivers to slow down.

The NZ Transport Agency’s Southern Regional Director Jim Harland says 23 school children have been killed in New Zealand during the last 25 years when crossing the road to or from school buses, and another 47 have been seriously injured.

“A perception survey in July of 700 Mid Canterbury motorists found 40% of drivers said they did not slow down to 20km/h past school buses that have stopped to pick up or drop off children. The survey also found that 35 per cent of drivers did not even know that 20km/h was the legal speed limit.”

Data collected to date as part of the trial shows that most motorists are speeding past school buses, with bus drivers reporting “less than one in 20 slows down past a school bus”.

The trial is being run by Transport Engineering Research New Zealand (TERNZ) with funding from the Road Safety Trust (NZ Transport Agency), and supported by the local police, Ashburton District Council and Rural Women New Zealand.

Mr Harland says the aim of the trial is to educate motorists on the 20km/h speed limit. “The Either way it’s 20k campaign has been running in Ashburton for the last two months, raising awareness of the legal speed limit and the need to slow down.”

The illuminated 20km/h signs with flashing beacons have been fitted on 30 buses operated by Pearsons Coachlines. The company has the contract for 27 school bus runs from the Rangitata to Rakaia, bringing children to schools within the town and outlying rural areas.

Pearsons Coachlines Depot Manager Mark Cook says while driving school buses he has seen a lot of close calls - “a lot of which never get reported” - and has witnessed motorists passing stationary school buses on long, straight roads at speeds in excess of 100km/h.

“We were very motivated when the opportunity arose to join with Rural Women New Zealand, with a vision to improve the safety of our children around school buses. The results so far have been extremely positive and now combined with the new 20km/h signs on the buses, I am sure that the current trial will prove to be successful.”

For local resident, Maureen Maginness of Rural Women New Zealand, an incident involving her own children when they were young, has resulted in a lifetime commitment to improving road safety for school children.

She is a strong advocate for getting a reduction in speeds past stationery school buses, saying if the trial enables us to “just save one child from an injury or death, then we would have done a wonderful thing”.

Ashburton Mayor Angus McKay says it is great Ashburton had been chosen for the trial and he welcomed the opportunity to work with the partners to make it a success.

“Nothing is worse than the life of a child being lost, particularly in circumstances that could have been avoided if someone had simply observed the legal speed limit and slowed down.

“I hope the trial is a huge success and as a result the flashing school bus signs are rolled out across the country to support road safety and save the lives of our children.”

The signs will operate on Pearsons buses until at least June 2014. Drivers testing the signs say they have already seen a change in driver behaviour, with a notable decrease in the speed at which motorists pass stationary school buses when the signs are operational.

Motorists will have a couple of weeks grace before the police begin to actively enforce the 20km/h speed limit past stationary school buses, says Sergeant Stephen Burgerhout of the Police’s Mid/South Canterbury Highway Patrol.

“As there has been a comprehensive educational campaign, I will be highly disappointed to see many offences.”

He says children tend to be impulsive and can do the unexpected. “If vehicle speeds are lower when passing stationary school buses, in the event of a child running out from behind a bus and being hit, the greater their chance of survival.

“No matter how good a driver a person is, the more they can do to minimise the factors to avoid a crash, the better it is for all involved.”


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news