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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news