School bus signs remind motorists
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