Bus driver’s ‘same side’ plea to par­ents

South Waikato News - - Motoring - AU­DREY MALONE

A former school bus driver reck­ons there’s a sim­ple mea­sure to re­duce the num­ber of chil­dren hit when dropped off by school buses.

It’s sim­ply to have par­ents meet the chil­dren on the side of the road that the bus drops them off on.

Sam Adams is now re­tired, but he drove buses for al­most 30 years and has first-hand ex­pe­ri­ence of these kind of ac­ci­dents.

‘‘Ev­ery time a child gets hit by a bus, it seems to be be­cause they are run­ning out in front to see their par­ents on the other side of the road,’’ Adams says.

On Tues­day, a six-year-old boy was hit while cross­ing the road to greet his nan and brother af­ter get­ting off his school bus near Te Aroha.

It nearly turned to tragedy when he was was run over by an SUV tow­ing a boat and trailer on First Av­enue North, Wai­hou, in the Eastern Waikato. He was flown to Waikato Hospi­tal in a se­ri­ous con­di­tion.

The boy’s grand­mother and brother were wait­ing for him to cross the road near the fam­ily’s home.

Adams says chil­dren are told not to run across the other side of the road, but that al­ways goes out of their heads when they’re ex­cited to see a par­ent af­ter the school­day.

Adams used to ex­plain to the care­givers why they should stand on the same side of the road as the bus exit.

‘‘Ev­ery sin­gle one of them I told got it and stood on the same side of the road.’’

He thinks it should be a univer­sal mes­sage.

It was per­sonal to Adams, who ran over a child who had run in front of his bus.

‘‘He saw mum and ran out in front of the bus. I was ex­on­er­ated, no one was to blame.’’

Another school bus driver, David White, agrees that there needs to be an em­pha­sis on par­ents greet­ing their chil­dren on the same side of the road as the bus stops. . Another part of the prob­lem was that driv­ers sim­ply did not slow down around school buses, de­spite its be­ing law to slow down to 20kmh when pass­ing, White says.

‘‘If you get them to slow down to 40kmh, then you are win­ning.’’

White suggests speed cam­eras and signs alert­ing driv­ers to the cam­eras should adorn ev­ery school bus.

Sam Adams, re­tired school bus driver.

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