Drivers are being warned for flashing lights on school buses, or risk being fined.By Zoe McMaugh
Children are unpredictable, which is why local authorities are calling on adults to be cautious around school buses.
Local bus company Purtills has combined with Deniliquin Police and Deniliquin Council to promote an awareness campaign on safety around school buses.
The main focus, according to Purtills manager operations and compliance Andrew Atley, is speeding drivers.
‘‘We want to issue a reminder to the public that when lights are flashing (on the school bus), the speed limit is 40km/h,’’ he said.
‘‘It particularly applies if you are approaching the bus from the rear.
‘‘The year is rolling on and school buses are a norm on the road, but we have an ongoing issue where when we drop children off people are flying past the bus at 100km/h.
‘‘Purtills want to work with Deniliquin Police’s highway patrol and with the local road safety officer to encourage people to go 40km/h.’’
Purtills driver George Barker has worked with the company for 19 years, and is currently the driver for the Tuppal school bus run.
He has seen the potential danger first hand and welcomed the campaign to address the issue.
‘‘I use the Finley Rd all the time, and people travel at 100km/h past a stopped bus all the time.
‘‘It just takes one kid to make a dash. I don’t think people have really been made aware.’’
Deniliquin Council road safety officer Ken Spence said it was an offence not to adhere to 40km/h speed limit, which is written on the back of all school buses, when the lights are flashing.
Deniliquin Police Senior Constable Dave Connolly said while it was only law to travel at 40km/h when approaching the rear of a stopping school bus, he said drivers travelling on the other side of the road should also proceed with caution.
‘‘The rules say the speed reduction is applied to the driver of a vehicle who is approaching from the rear of the bus.
‘‘However, we would highly recommend that drivers approaching from the front also obey the reduced limit of 40km/h.’’
Drivers who pass a stopped school bus on the highway, travelling at 100km/h, are subject to a hefty fine of $2197, loss of six demerit points and immediate suspension of licence.
Those who pass a stopped bus in town, in a 50km/h or 60km/h zone, could be charged with exceeding the speed by more than 10km/h, which attracts a penalty of $248 and loss of three points.
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