Our campaign for 20kmh flashing signs to be installed on all school buses got valuable airtime this week, as former RWNZ National Councillor, Sue Saunders, was a guest on TVCentral News.
We say “How many more children will be hurt or killed before we see flashing 20kmh signage become mandatory for all school buses?”
In the United States it’s illegal to pass a school bus that’s stopped. The bright yellow buses are lit up like a Christmas tree.
Here our school buses are less obvious. Often multi-purpose, they can be any size, shape or colour, and must simply display a SCHOOL or KURA sign.
An approaching motorist must register that the bus stopped ahead is a school bus, long before they can read the SCHOOL sign. It’s certainly not ‘top of the mind’ when driving on the open road.
Next the driver must remember the Road Code requirement to pass a school bus at 20kmh in either direction, despite that speed limit not being shown anywhere on the bus.
We protect our road workers with 30kmh signs, road cones and high tech traffic controls, yet we drop young and vulnerable children by the side of the open road in rural areas with no speed signs or warning lights and no pavement.
With tragic injury and death statistics, which have not improved for thirty years, Rural Women New Zealand wants to see all school buses fitted with flashing warning lights and 20kmh signs that light up as the bus stops.
Transport Engineering Research New Zealand has recently developed 20kmh signs incorporating flashing lights that can be produced for $500 a sign, or $1,000 per bus.
The $2.5 million to install 20kmh flashing signs on all the country’s 2,500 school buses is less than the ‘social cost’ of $3.5 million the Ministry of Transport puts on just one life lost on the roads.
We suggest some of the $10 million held by the Road Safety Trust from the first time sale of personalized number plates should be spent on equipping all school buses with flashing 20kmh signs without delay.
Our children are worth it.
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