Bus driver’s ‘same side’ plea to parents
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.