Rural women: Call for action on coroners reports


Rural Women endorses the call by the chief coroner for it to become mandatory for government agencies to respond to coroners' recommendations.

"We agree with Judge Neil MacLean that coroners' recommendations need to be considered and acted upon in order to save lives," said Rural Women's national president, Liz Evans.

"As an example, for the past five years Rural Women New Zealand has been advocating for more to be done to remind drivers of the 20km/h speed limit when passing a stationary school bus.

"At least two coroners' reports have recommended improved signage on buses as a way of reminding drivers of the need to slow down, as well as alerting drivers that a school bus has stopped ahead."

In March, Transport Engineering Research conducted a trial of active 20km/h signs, which showed encouraging results. However the signs are still not approved for use on school buses. "The technology is now available and Rural Women has evidence of huge public support for such signs," Evans said. "It is time for action."

Many school communities have indicated they would consider fundraising to cover the cost of the active 20km/h signs, but first they must be approved for use.

Since 1987, 23 children have been killed in New Zealand when crossing the road to or from school buses, 47 have been seriously injured and 92 have received minor injuries.

Last year, 35 children and a bus driver were injured when a logging truck hit the rear of a school bus near Ruatoki in the Bay of Plenty.

For the report on the 20km/h school bus signs trial visit www.ruralwomen.org.nz and search Ternz.

- Hamilton News

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