Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search

 


School Bus Safety in Question

Press Release - from Candor Trust, Wellington.

School Bus Safety in Question

Candor Trust are calling on the Ministry of Transport for another review of school bus safety. Representatives of the Road Safety Charity say that the last one which occurred a couple of years ago "perhaps did more harm than good". It is time to drug test drivers, especially given the Education Ministry is fine about testing pupils.

With no less than 7 major incidents this year already (8.5 is average in the last decade) the Trust claim a cloud lies over the Ministry of Educations ability to care for Kiwi kids. The last 2 days alone saw 25 students traumatised during their everyday journey to or from schooling.

A new bus driver suspended for rolling her bus, in what might easily have been a major tragedy near Auckland yesterday is "under investigation". She claims to have no recall of events. Though she passed a breathalyser test it's unknown whether Police or the Employer have requested drug testing.

Then 6 students were injured today and some were in great distress when either a school bus driver or a rubbish truck driver failed to give way at an intersection.
These accidents come atop of the following events to plague the Ministry of Educations school bus service this year.

In February near Bulls a school bus and car collided. The same month in Southland a bus crash resulted in 12 children suffering injury. A Kohanga Reo bus rolled in Kaitaia in July, which was also the month a school bus driver mounted the footpath running over 5 Auckland schoolgirls.

And lest we forget there was also a heart rending tragedy in which a girl was run over and killed just after being dropped at her gate where the Mother was awaiting her arrival. Gate dropping is a practise disallowed in some US States.

Until the plummet this year our school bus safety record was similar to Australia's with slightly higher fatality rates among users. But with serious driver shortages Nationally it appears the relaxing of regulations to encourage people into the Transport Industry has come at rather a high price.

New Zealand has no specific course or additional training requirements for school bus drivers above and beyond those contained in the Passenger License Endorsement. A fit and proper person check is carried out initially which is really only looking out for a drink driving history.

But once the license is granted no renewal or updates or even medical assessments to monitor health are required for a full 5 years. A Tourist Coach Driver nervously told the writer the new rules are "nothing short of frightening".

School bus drivers can be called out unexpectedly and if they are substance abusers in spare time it can then become an issue, he says.

The U.S.A. has shown great interest in child passenger safety and practically passes school bus legislation on a daily basis. Accordingly it is here we find a success school bus incidents and fatalities are halved on earlier days.

Generally States require yearly to 2 yearly medical assessments for "Student
Transportation License" holders as well as alcohol and drug abuse tests and perhaps some random testing. A system is in place to flag the authorities should school bus drivers be involved in non work related traffic offending.

Rachael Ford (Candor Trust) says the members of her Organisation have long been concerned about School Bus Safety. "Driving them is specially stressful as people have to deal with disruptive students, bullying and sometimes even illegal activities".

"On top of this they must deal with particularly inattentive drivers in the fatigue peak time of mid afternoon. This is the high crash risk time for school buses. It is a lot of pressure so it wouldn't be surprising if they might develop addictions or stress related health problems before their 5 year renewal is due"

LTNZ figures show that most school bus crashes do indeed unfold in the afternoon. The bus controllers for the most recent accidents will be given 3 days to provide written reports regarding schools involved, injuries and cause of the crash to the Ministry of Educations local Transport Co-ordinator.

"We would like be advised if the drivers were tested for drug intoxication once the final reports are in" says Mrs Ford, "because the Public has a right to know what hit them or their kids!"

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines

 

Electronica: Restoring The World’s First Recorded Computer Music

University of Canterbury Distinguished Professor Jack Copeland and UC alumni and composer Jason Long have restored the earliest known recording of computer-generated music, created more than 65 years ago using programming techniques devised by Alan Turing. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Review Of Books: Almost Getting Away With Murder

The Black Widow by Lee-Anne Cartier: Lee-Anne Cartier is the sister of the Christchurch man found to have been murdered by his wife, Helen Milner, after an initial assumption by police that his death, in 2009, was suicide. More>>

Howard Davis: Triple Echo - The Malevich/Reinhardt/Hotere Nexus

Howard Davis: The current juxtaposition of works by Ralph Hotere and Ad Reinhardt at Te Papa perfectly exemplifies Jean Michel Massing's preoccupation with the transmigration of imagery in a remarkable triple echo effect... More>>

Scoop Review Of Books: Nō Tāu Manawa

Vaughan Rapatahana responds to Fale Aitu | Spirit House by Tusiata Avi: "fa’afetai Tusiata, fa’afetai, / you’ve swerved & served us a masterclass corpus / through graft / of tears & fears..." More>>

9 Golds - 21 Medals: NZ Team Celebrates As Rio 2016 Paralympic Games Close

The entire New Zealand Paralympic Team, led by kiwi sprinter and double gold medallist Liam Malone as flag bearer, are on the bus to the Maracanã Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the Closing Ceremony of the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games. There, they will celebrate the fantastic successes of the past 10 days. More>>

ALSO:

New Zealand Improv Festival: The Festival Of Moments To Return To The Capital

The eighth incarnation of the New Zealand Improv Festival comes to BATS Theatre this 4-8 October , with a stellar line-up of spontaneous theatre and instant comedy performed and directed by top improvisors from around New Zealand and the world. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
Education
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news