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MPs to launch new school bus safety resources

LTSA online
Kiwi kids are on the move! Every school day in New Zealand over 700,000 children make their way to and from school, and 120,000 of them make the journey on a school bus.

Making that journey as safe as possible is the focus of important new educational resources to be launched in Murchison on Friday by MPs Damien O'Connor and Trevor Mallard, with Bus and Coach Association Executive Director John Collyns.

The Land Transport Safety Authority, Bus and Coach Association, Ministry of Education, Police and Safekids have pooled their efforts to produce a new pamphlet and poster that provide simple - but vital - safety tips for all children who use a school bus service. The colourful resources contain simple messages about safe behaviour on and around school buses.

The pamphlets and posters are being distributed to children, teachers, parents and operators of school bus services as part of Kidsafe Week, August 13th to 20th.

The official launch of the new resources will be held at the Murchison Area School, this Friday, August 13th. The MPs and other guests will be on hand to participate in activities the school has planned, including a mock crash scenario involving the school bus and local emergency services.

Children from the school will have the opportunity to put the safety tips outlined in the resources into practice by taking part in the mock crash and other practical, hands-on safety drills on and around their own school bus. Similar safety drills based on the new resources are planned by several other school bus operators around the country, so that in the unlikely event of a bus crash, children will know what to do.

Every year school buses carry children over 2,200 routes throughout New Zealand, travelling up to 40 million kilometres. On average, one child a year is killed getting on or off a school bus, and every few years a child is killed as a result of a crash involving a school bus.

"While these figures are low and the school bus industry has an enviable safety record there is no room for complacency. Everyone involved in this initiative is aware that any child's death is a tragedy. We sincerely hope these new resources can help improve the already good safety record of school buses," said Reg Barrett, Director of Land Transport Safety.

The following school bus operators are planning activities around the new resources during Kidsafe Week. Please contact the Bus and Coach Association (04 499-7334) or the individual operators for details:

Matamata Passenger Transport - Matamata
Sand Safaris - Kaitaia
Carley's Transport - Te Kauwhata
MG Dallas Ltd - Paparoa (Northland)
Wadsworth Motors - Tapawera (Nelson)
Ritchies Transport Holdings - Swanson (Auckland)
Deluxe Travel - Blenheim
Pickering Motors - Opunake
Taupo Pass Services - Taupo
Collingwood School Buses - Collingwood
Ranui Buses - Tolaga Bay and Opotiki
Murphy Buses Ltd - Thames
Stagecoach Wellington - Wellington
East Otago Coachways - Palmerston (South)
Classic Coachlines - Wainuiomata

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