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Rural Women NZ celebrates Road Safety Week

Rural Women NZ celebrates Road Safety Week with good news from 20K school bus signs trial

A year-long school bus safety trial in Ashburton has shown that illuminated 20K signs on buses can have a big impact on driver behaviour.

“For years Rural Women NZ has called for clear signage on school buses to indicate the 20K speed limit in both directions when passing a bus that’s stopped to let children on or off. This is great news and a perfect way to celebrate Road Safety Week,” says Rural Women NZ vice president, Kerry Maw.

“Every day motorists speeding past school buses on rural roads put children’s lives at risk.”

During the ‘Either Way It’s 20K’ trial in Ashburton there was a marked drop in speeds when the 20K signs were in operation, with many motorists slowing to between 25 and 35 km/h.

The bright LED signs lit up automatically when the bus door opened, and flashing amber lights operated for 20 seconds before the bus stopped and after it had pulled away, giving approaching drivers plenty of warning of a hazard ahead.

The three-stage trial was carried out by TERNZ Ltd with funding from the Road Safety Trust. It began with an awareness campaign, followed by installation of the signs on Pearsons Coachlines’ school buses. The final stage was an enforcement operation by the police.

While the awareness campaign increased knowledge of the 20K rule, alone it had little effect on driver behaviour. However installation of the signs on the buses had an immediate and marked impact.

Rural Women NZ hopes the 20K signs will be approved for use as part of next year’s amendment to the Traffic Devices Control rule, if not sooner.

TERNZ’s final report and recommendations will be submitted to the New Zealand Transport Agency by the end of June.

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