School bus signs re­mind mo­torists

Central Otago Mirror - - NEWS - By CHE BAKER

Ev­ery­day Queen­stown school bus driv­ers are see­ing the lives of the 1000 stu­dents they take to school and back put in dan­ger by impatient driv­ers.

Go Bus driver Wayne Gaudin said in the 40 years he had been a school bus driver, mo­torists speed­ing past buses ‘‘has al­ways been an is­sue’’. ‘‘They’re too impatient. ‘‘All school bus driv­ers will tell you about the near-misses they’ve had,’’ Gaudin said.

This term the Queen­stown Lakes Dis­trict Coun­cil were tri­alling new sig­nage on school buses in the Queen­stown area as a way to re­mind driv­ers to slow to 20km/h when pass­ing a bus that has stopped for chil­dren.

The ini­tia­tive was be­ing car­ried out to raise aware­ness about bus safety fol­low­ing an ac­ci­dent last year where a 7-year-old child was in­jured when cross­ing the road to a bus stop in Ar­row­town.

Coun­cil se­nior en­gi­neer An­drew Edger said ‘‘many driv­ers still don’t re­alise that it’s the law to slow down to 20km/h when pass­ing a sta­tion­ary school bus pick­ing up or drop­ping off chil­dren’’.

The sig­nage would make the speed limit re­quire­ment more vis­i­ble.

‘‘Re­duc­ing the speed of pass­ing ve­hi­cles on both sides of the road dramatically re­duces crash rates. It also in­creases the chance of a child sur­viv­ing an in­jury if they are hit by a ve­hi­cle,’’ Edgar said.

On av­er­age there was one death, more than two se­ri­ous and four mi­nor in­jury crashes re­ported ev­ery year in New Zealand that in­volved chil­dren cross­ing to get to, or from, a school bus.

St Josephs School bus rid­ers Ciaran Cantwell, Deo Ed­wards and Nikau Barnes, all aged 5, with Go Bus driver Katrina McIn­tyre, school prin­ci­pal Trisch In­der and Go Bus driver Wayne Gaudin (back row) stand in front of the larger signs in­stalled on Queen­stown school buses, warn­ing driv­ers pass­ing to re­duce their speed to 20kmh.

Photo: CHE BAKER

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