NSW Government To Install Seatbelts In Dedicated School Buses

NSW Government To Install Seatbelts In Dedicated School Buses

Member for Port Macquarie, Leslie Williams today welcomed an investment of more than $200 million from the NSW Government that will see seatbelts installed on almost 1700 buses across the state.

Mrs Williams said the seatbelts will be installed on buses dedicated to school runs.

“The NSW Government had listened to the views of people in rural and regional communities and had taken action where the previous Labor Government had failed to take any action.

“This is a significant investment by the NSW Government in the safety of children in regional and rural NSW and a first for this state,” Mrs Williams said.

The commitment comes as the NSW Government announced it will adopt the majority of the recommendations made by the Independent School Bus Safety Community Advisory Committee’s inquiry into school bus safety in rural and regional NSW.

Seatbelts will progressively be installed and standing phased out on almost 1,700 dedicated school services (known to operators as contract ‘a’) over 10 years, starting this financial year. The rollout of seatbelts is estimated to cost around $208 million over the period.

“There are more than 60,000 students across regional and rural NSW who travel on these dedicated school buses every weekday, covering more than 50 million kilometres each year.

“Whilst not all local school buses are dedicated to school services, this at least is a good start.

“School bus safety is an important issue and I’m pleased the NSW Government has responded to community concerns with a significant program of improvements which includes a major financial investment,” Mrs Williams said.

The NSW Government established the School Bus Safety Community Advisory Committee in April 2011 to examine school bus safety in rural and regional NSW.

Other recommendations made by the committee which the NSW Government will adopt to improve regional and rural school bus safety include:

· regular monitoring of new and emerging vehicle safety technologies and where necessary and appropriate, encouraging their use through regional bus contracts;
· A new Student Code of Conduct to ensure parents, students and bus operators know their responsibilities when it comes to wearing seat belts;
· encouraging schools to use buses fitted with seatbelts for excursions and other charters;
· developing guidelines which outline responsibilities for rural and regional bus operators to encourage students to wear seatbelts when fitted;
· developing a standard for designing rural bus stops to improve safety;
· reviewing regulations relating to speed limits around buses when school bus warning lights are flashing;
· exploring new ways to communicate with stakeholders to improve student safety around school bus zones;
· rolling out communication strategies to identify, share and promote good school bus safety practice.

Full details are available at www.transport.nsw.gov.au/content/school-bus-safety-community-advisory-committee

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