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All we want for Christmas

All we want for Christmas

Rural Women New Zealand urges the Road Safety Trust to play Santa this Christmas and spend the $10.7 million it has accumulated from the sale of personalised number plates on the worthy grant applications it has received from community groups.

Last week surprised Transport Minister Steven Joyce asked the Road Safety Trust to take another look at the 14 community funding applications it had turned down "in the spirit of Christmas".

This includes Rural Women New Zealand's application for billboards to raise awareness of the 20kmh past a school bus rule, particularly as our pilot signs on SH58 have produced startling results. Drivers have slowed from 90-100kmh past school buses to an average 20-40kmh, greatly enhancing the safety of children travelling on school buses.

Also on our Santa wish list to the Trust is funding for active, flashing 20kmh signs to be installed on all school buses, which would be illuminated when the bus had stopped. Active signs installed by some bus companies at their own expense have had an instant effect in reducing traffic speeds.

With one child killed every year for the last 30 years off school buses, and many more seriously injured, the Ministry of Education and Ministry of Transport both acknowledge more needs to be done to improve safety around school buses.

To equip every school bus in the country with active 20kmh signs would cost in the region of $4 million. The question has always been "where would the money for such signs come from?"

Now that it has been revealed that the Road Safety Trust has $10.7 million languishing in the bank, Rural Women New Zealand believes that question has been answered.


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