Here’s a good idea: flashing 20km/h signs on all school buses.
These would light up 20 seconds before the bus stops and stay on for 20 seconds after it moves off. They’ve been developed locally and would only cost around $1000 to install on the front and back of each school bus.
The only problem is there are 2500 school buses … but Rural Women New Zealand is campaigning for the new signs to be fitted to every one of them. It points out that a single life lost on the roads has a “social cost” of $3.5 million (according to the Ministry of Transport) compared with the $2.5 million cost of fitting the signs. Then there’s $10 million sitting in the coffers of the Road Safety Trust from the sale of personalised number plates – we couldn’t think of a better use for this money.
The Road Code says drivers must pass a stationary school bus at no more than 20 km/h in either direction. This seems to be one of the road rules least likely to be obeyed – perhaps because it’s often not obvious that a school bus has stopped, especially when you’re approaching one at open-road speeds.
We go to great trouble and expense to alert motorists to road works with flashing signs, speed-limit signs, cones, and special high-tech warning trucks. Yet we rely on a small yellow “school bus” sign to protect our kids – and it doesn’t even tell you what speed limit applies.
- The new flashing signs with the 20km/h speed limit on them should be approved by the New Zealand Transport Authority and added to school buses now.
- Rural Women New Zealand’s school-bus sign campaign: www.facebook.com/speedpastschoolbuses
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