‘Slow down by school buses’ – cops

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Bus safety: Go Bus operation supervisors Angela Waterman, left, and Ramona Rasnoveanu

Changes to school bus stop points on Gibbston Highway are on the cards in efforts to protect students from being hit by speedy drivers.

The call for safety’s come because motorists aren’t slowing down to 20kmh when approaching stationary school buses.

Arrowtown School and other concerned community groups want centralised collection points away from the highway – where the bus currently pulls up – so children aren’t waiting on the side of a busy road.

Deputy principal Tim Young will be engaging with parents and community groups to identify appropriate spots.

“For parents to leave their child on the side of a main road with knowledge of the driving behaviours that exist is a frightening thought. We want to get everyone’s feedback on the idea.”

Go Bus is onboard with centralised pick-ups and also happy to continue dropping kids off at their driveways.

Young points out there are also problems with lead-foot drivers on most of the rural runs.

“Everyone is in a hurry in the morning, and it seems like less and less people are slowly down for buses.”

Police are appealing for people to take school bus safety seriously, before a child is killed.

Earlier this month, officers began an operation targeting bad behaviour around buses across the district.

Sergeant Kate Pirovano warns it doesn’t take much to lose cont-rol and ruin many people’s lives.

“Drivers are distracted, the roads are extremely icy and there is limited light,” Pirovano says.

Last Friday morning alone, four people – two in Arthurs Point, one outside Queenstown’s primary school and another at the Domain and Dalefield Roads’ intersection – were caught doing more than 20kmh past a stopped school bus, in either direction.

Drivers were between 13kmh and 33kmh over the 20kmh limit. Fines and demerits dished out reflect speed.

Police are yet to count up the total number ticketed so far, but say they’re catching at least one every time they patrol a bus stop.

“School buses are operating when everyone is rushing to and from work, so there is a lot more traffic on the road,” Pirovano says.

Sixteen services run at any one time between 7-9am and 3-5pm.

“When one person slows down to 20kmh, it forces other drivers to do the same … we’re asking people to do the right thing.”

– MIRANDA COOK