Bus firm backs safety signs move

A recommendation that 20kmh LED speed signs be installed on all school buses is being supported by a South Canterbury bus company manager.

A trial by Transport Engineering Research New Zealand (Ternz) of placing the bright signs on school buses in Mid Canterbury had been successful in decreasing speeds of vehicles when passing stationary school buses.

The Ternz report recommended LED signs be placed on all school buses nationally.

Ritchies area manager for South Canterbury Philip Boel said anything that improved safety for operating school buses was beneficial.

"I think it's a good idea and it's worth trying it here in South Canterbury.

"It seems to be working in Mid Canterbury."

Boel said bus drivers always had safety concerns for their passengers when exiting a bus.

It was because fundamentally many people had no idea about safe speeds when passing a bus, he said.

"We have problems with people whizzing past.

"People should know their road rules anyway.

"It's all part and parcel of having a licence knowing what speed to take past a bus."

The Ternz report said the risk of fatal and serious casualties was greatly reduced with decreased speeds.

Therefore increasing the number of vehicles passing school buses at safe speeds would directly affect the number of fatal or serious injuries to pedestrians, it said.

The report said the LED lights had greater visibility in low-light weather conditions and suggested greater use of such signs, especially larger ones.

It also suggested the installation of signs to the 1552 school buses nationwide should be in conjunction with an awareness campaign which supported enforcement of the 20kmh limit.

Boel believed the awareness campaign was needed in conjunction to ensure road rules were followed.

"I suppose it is needed.

"There is a lot of people out there who don't know the road rules.

"It's got to be a good thing," he said.

The Timaru Herald