A Pearsons Coachlines bus displays a new speed limit
Mid Canterbury motorists will have no excuse for speeding
past school buses stopped to pick up or set down pupils.
Special illuminated flashing lights have been fitted to the
front and back of 30 buses operating in the Ashburton
district as part of a national trial.
The signs carry the 20kmh symbol - the legal speed for
passing a stationary school bus picking up or dropping off
They have been fitted to Pearson Coachline buses. Three types
of signs have been used to cope with differing models of
buses. Some signs are permanently mounted while others are on
a blind which can be rolled away when the vehicle is not on
the school run.
A recent survey found that more than 40% of motorists in the
district were speeding past stationary school buses.
Almost 700 local residents completed the survey, which found
that 35% of residents did not know that the legal speed limit
when passing a stationary school bus was 20kmh, and 41% said
they would normally pass a stationary school bus at faster
Ashburton has been chosen for a national trial because of its
patchwork of long, straight roads and because of the support
from the bus company and Rural Women New Zealand. The
organisation has been campaigning for lights on school buses
for several years.
An awareness campaign - ''Either way it's 20k'' - has been
running in the district for the past two months.
Public awareness of the need to slow down past stationary
school buses was low, as was evident in the survey, trial
spokesperson and NZ Transport Agency safety co-ordinator Lee
This would be common throughout New Zealand, she said.
She said if the trial was a success the signs would be
approved as an option for use on school buses throughout New
The trial is being run by Transport Engineering Research New
Zealand (Ternz), with funding from the Road Safety Trust (NZ
Transport Agency), and supported by local police, Ashburton
District Council and Rural Women New Zealand.
Speed data was collected before the signs were installed and
will be collected throughout the trial through speed cameras
on the buses.
The signs will operate until at least June 2014. Motorists
will have a couple of week's grace before the police begin to
actively enforce the 20kmh speed limit.