Illuminating 20km speed limit signs should be approved for school buses without delay Rural Women NZ believes.
A trial of new LED signs in Ashburton last year proved successful in slowing drivers, and Rural Women NZ hope the signs will be approved for general use on school buses in 2015.
“We have been advocating for years for public awareness and driver education around school bus safety, especially the 20K speed limit in either direction,” says Rural Women New Zealand’s national president Wendy McGowan.
“Using technology to get the message across to drivers has been a big part of our campaign.”
The ‘Either Way It’s 20K’ Ashburton trial saw a marked drop in speeds when the flashing 20km signs were operating.
The NZ Transport Agency agrees the results of the Ashburton trial are promising, provided they are widely and consistently used on entire school bus fleets, and supported by active and widespread community engagement and publicity.
Wendy says such signs may have helped avoid an accident in late-2014 in Christchurch where a teenager was hit crossing the road after getting off a bus.
“The accident may well have been avoided if the bus had been fitted with illuminated 20km/h signs to remind drivers of the speed limit past a stopped school bus.”
In early December an 88-year-old man was taken to Tauranga Hospital for observation after suffering seatbelt bruising in a crash with a school bus in Katikati.
The man was travelling up Kauri Point Rd at about 3.20pm when he rear-ended the stationary bus, says Western Bay of Plenty road policing manager Senior Sergeant Ian Campion.
Ian says the reason why he crashed into the back of the bus is under investigation, but concerns about the man’s driving had been raised.
“There were 12 students on the bus and no one was injured.”
The bus suffered minimal damage and was able to be driven away but the man’s car sustained significant damage and had to be towed from the scene.
Since 1987 a tally of 23 children have been killed in New Zealand when crossing the road to or from school buses. At least 47 more have been seriously injured.