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Government to blame for latest bus fatalities

The government has blood on its hands over the latest fatal bus accident, says the car review website dogandlemon.com.

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says:

"The simple truth is, if the occupants of that bus had been wearing seatbelts, they'd probably be alive right now. There's no excuse: the police and government have been saying for years that people need to wear seatbelts, yet the bus industry is allowed to operate without them."

Matthew-Wilson believes that all passenger buses that drive at more than 50km/h should be required to have seatbelts, and the occupants should be required to wear them.

“Compared to cars, buses are actually a very safe way of travelling. At low speeds, such as around town, it’s not practical to require occupants to wear seatbelts. However, buses that travel our highways need to protect their occupants in the event of a collision.”

"It's nonsense to say that older buses can't be retrofitted with seatbelts. What is lacking is the political will to make this happen. If the government had acted after the last fatal bus crashes, those tourists would probably have been wearing seatbelts today and would very likely have survived the crash. The government should be deeply ashamed."

“New Zealand’s roads are particularly dangerous for buses, because they’re often narrow and winding; a perfect setup for a rollover accident.”

Matthew-Wilson also wants the government to ban the import of buses without Electronic Stability Control. Electronic Stability Control (ESC/ESP) helps prevent a vehicle losing control in emergencies. ESC is already compulsory on cars, but is still optional on imported buses.

However, a 2012 study by the American government, concluded that: “[If installed on heavy vehicles], we believe that ESC systems could prevent 40–56% of rollover crashes and 14% of loss-of-control crashes.”

ends

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