Rural Women New Zealand applauds Transport Minister Steven Joyce’s decision to accept our recommendation and extend the 20kmh speed limit past school buses to 20 seconds before and after a school bus has stopped if the bus is displaying a flashing sign.
However Rural Women New Zealand now urges the Government to take the next step and approve an active school bus sign that includes the 20kmh speed limit.
“Our research shows that many New Zealand drivers, as well as tourists, are unaware of the 20kmh limit and are failing to slow down, making our children very vulnerable, especially on rural roads where there are no footpaths,” says RWNZ health spokesperson, Kerry Maw.
Current approved school bus signs include one of children crossing with flashing ‘wig wag’ lights, but there is no approved sign that includes the 20kmh speed limit.
Rural Women New Zealand has worked extensively with traffic engineering researchers who have developed an active 20kmh school bus sign, but the sign awaits approval from the NZ Transport Agency.
Testing of the prototype sign has shown it to be very effective in slowing drivers. Overseas research also supports the use of clear speed limit signage.
Rural communities have begun to raise funds for active 20kmh signs for their local school buses, and keenly await their approval and production.
“The number of children killed and injured after getting off school buses has not improved for 30 years, and behind every statistic is a devastated family,” says Mrs Maw.
“It is time we focused on every possible solution to ensure our school children are kept safe.”