Residents across the region are reminded that a 40km/h speed zone exists when school buses have their wig wag lights on. This rule apples at both formal and informal (road side) bus stops across the region and whenever children are getting on or off the bus.
Concern from local school buses operators has been raised to Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council (CGRC), Road Safety Committee regarding drivers ignoring the enforceable limit.
The speed zone applies to all roads, regardless of the sign posted speed limit when a school bus has its wig wag lights flashing especially when buses are approaching, stopping or leaving a bus stop.
Buses use speed signs and orange flashing wigwag lights to warn motorists that they are picking up or setting down school children. The lights begin to flash when the bus stops and the doors are opened. They keep flashing for about 30 seconds after the doors close and continue even after the bus moves off. You must not drive past the bus in the same direction at more than 40 km/h while the lights are flashing as there may be children crossing or about to cross the road.
When buses are dropping off or picking up school children their headlights will also flash. Motorists are urged to be careful when approaching a bus with flashing headlights as there may be children crossing or about to cross the road.
CGRC’S Road Safety Committee representative, Councillor Charlie Sheahan said he was disturbed that motorists were continually ignoring the speed zone.
“I ask motorists to be particularly careful when passing stationary buses from 7am–9.30am and 2.30–5pm. This is when children are travelling to and from school. We are all aware that school buses are picking up or dropping off children. Children can be unpredictable and excitable, we need to consider their safety, the 40km/h speed zone is there for that reason,” Cr Sheahan said.
One operator who has bus stops on the Olympic Highway said he was continually seeing drivers speed past when picking up and dropping off students along his route.
“Whether drivers are unaware or choose to ignore the speed zone, they are putting lives at risk, and those lives are our future. Bus operators are vigilant and are constantly reviewing safety procedures. We educate our passengers and their parents, and informal bus stops are chosen with safety as a priority. I see it every day, drivers coming past my bus exceeding the 40km/h speed limit,” Mr Walsh said.
Riverina Highway Patrol Cootamundra Sergeant Ben Smith said speeding drivers around school buses are a concern.
“We will be tasking officers to monitor traffic around school buses during drop off and pick up times across the regions roads,” Sergeant Smith said.
Picture and caption:
Motorists are reminded to slow down to 40km/h whenever they see school bus wig wag lights are flashing. Cr Charlie Sheahan and a NSW Highway Patrol Officer monitor a rural road side bus stop on the Olympic Highway.