Seat Belts For School Buses

SCHOOL buses are set to be safer in the Port Stephens area thanks to state government funding for seat belts.

Given some of the roads are 100km/h zones, Port Stephens MP Kate Washington said the funding was well overdue.

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Regional Transport and Roads Minister Sam Farraway said seatbelts had already been fitted on 2500 school buses across the state and Upper Hunter was now the focus.

Mr Farraway said all dedicated rural and regional school buses in the state had been fitted with seat belts.

He said the NSW Government announced in March that all dedicated school buses on rural and regional bus contracts had been fitted with seatbelts, two years ahead of schedule, as part of the $237-million NSW Rural and Regional Bus Seatbelt Program.

“This program has already ensured a safer trip to and from school for more than 200,000 students who often travel long distances on dirt roads,” Mr Farraway said.

“That is why we are now extending the seatbelt program to 100 school buses in the Cessnock, Singleton, Maitland and Port Stephens areas, following considered analysis of roads with higher-risk ratings.

“This will deliver improved safety for school buses travelling long distances on unsealed roads and on roads outside urban areas with a speed limit of 80km/h and above.

“And of course, it will give parents more comfort knowing their kids are better protected when travelling to school.”

Member for Upper Hunter Dave Layzell said school student safety was a priority and the fitting of seatbelts on more school buses would save lives.

“In the Upper Hunter Electorate 37 new buses have had seatbelts installed whilst a further 35 existing school buses were retrofitted with seatbelts,” he said.

Member for Port Stephens Kate Washington told News Of The Area, “It was a disgrace that, nine years ago, Port Stephens was excluded from the Liberal Government’s regional school bus seatbelt program.

“Before I was elected and ever since, I’ve been fighting for our kids to be safe, and our school buses to get seatbelts.

“Every day, we have thousands of kids sitting and standing on school buses across Port Stephens, on 80 and 100 km/h roads. It isn’t safe now, and it hasn’t been safe for the past nine years.

“The government has put Port Stephens last on their school bus seatbelt rollout, and – unlike every other regional area in NSW – our kids will still be forced to stand on school buses travelling along unsafe roads.

“That’s if they’re lucky enough to have their school bus turn up,” she said.

“Without a public high school in Medowie, our local school buses are overstretched, overloaded and increasingly unable to cope.

“The government needs to treat us like every other regional community and make sure our school buses are safe,” she said.


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