Mandate bus cameras - calls coroner

The Queensland coroner has called for fitment of reversing cameras following a recent bus death inquiry

Mandate bus cameras - calls coroner
Mandate bus cameras – calls coroner

Gary Worrall | October 19, 2012

Queensland coroner Stephanie Tonkin has called for reversing cameras to be fitted to all commercial passenger vehicles in her findings into the death of a woman in 2009.

Jennifer Ann Boon, 45, of Beerwah in southern Queensland died after she was struck by a 33-seat bus that had just dropped her off near her home early on July 12, 2009.

The coroner absolved bus driver Louise Blessington of all blame, despite police initially laying charges of driving without due care and attention although these were withdrawn prior to trial in 2010, saying Ms Boon’s death ‘was not as a result of careless or negligent conduct on the part of Ms Blessington’.

As part of the coronial hearing Tonkin considered calls for all bus operators to give ‘serious consideration’ to the fitting of reversing cameras to all passenger vehicles ‘capable of being fitted with such equipment’.

Another submission also advocated installing pedestrian protection radar systems with automatic braking ‘to stop a vehicle that is being driven toward a pedestrian’, but Tonkin rejected this on the submission of Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR)that the systems are limited in effect, and any system involving brakes cannot be retrofitted.

Instead, Tonkin recommended to DTMR, using the Operator Accreditation process, ‘ensure and enforce’ that all drivers complete ‘any and all necessary reversing’ needed to continue the journey before allowing a passenger to leave the bus.

Drivers must also ensure ‘unrestricted or adequate’ visibility to the rear of the vehicle, using either an assistant, by physically getting out of the bus to check, a camera or other ‘appropriate means’.

Tonkin’s other recommendations were for DTMR to use the Operator Accreditation system to recommend that all companies ‘operating’ in Queensland give ‘serious consideration’ to the installation of reversing cameras on all passenger vehicles capable of being fitted with such equipment, as well as for DTMR to ‘give consideration’ to the need for a public education program to warn of the ‘dangers’ of larger passenger vehicles and the need to ‘act in a safe and prudent manner’ when in close proximity to such vehicles.

"It is recommended that such an education campaign is to be designed and implemented at the discretion of the Department, after due and appropriate consideration to any available data on such safety issues," says Tonkin.

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