Australia, Bus Industry News, Bus Safety

NSW accepts bus safety recommendations, begins new safety campaign

The recommendations have led to a new bus safety campaign that has been launched this week for NSW passengers

The NSW government has announced it is continuing to work on improving bus and coach safety, accepting all five recommendations made from the Bus Industry Taskforce’s first safety report.

The report was ordered following the Hunter Valley crash, with recommendations including a new seatbelt campaign, possible speed restrictions for school buses and addressing risks for passengers standing on buses.

“There is still work to be done when it comes to bus safety in NSW, but the NSW government is taking an important step by accepting all five recommendations from the first bus safety report,” NSW transport minister Jo Haylen says.

“My heart is with the families and community devastated by this tragedy. I’ve spoken to them personally and will continue to let their voices be heard as we work towards a safer future on our roads and public transport.

“I have asked Transport for NSW to ramp up vital work in raising awareness of the importance of seatbelt laws on buses, especially on school buses.

“We want everyone to remember that seatbelts save lives. If there is a seatbelt available on the bus you’re travelling on, you must use it.

“I want to thank the Bus Taskforce for leading the first phase of this important ongoing work on examining safety in the bus and coach industry.”

Transport for NSW has begun working on implementing the recommendations, with seatbelt compliance the primary focus.

NSW regional transport minister Jenny Aitchison says the Hunter Valley crash strengthened her resolve to do what she could to reduce road trauma.

“The initial Bus Industry Taskforce First Safety Report is just the first step towards this goal and I welcome the recommendation that Transport complete the implementation of the Rural and Regional Seatbelts Program as soon as possible,” Aitchison says.

“I have met with some of the members of those families who tragically lost their lives and given them my commitment to work with all the affected families to do our best to make sure an incident like this never happens again.

“The grief, trauma and regret caused by these tragedies lasts a lifetime.”

The new safety campaign was launched from this week and is aimed at educating passengers on the importance and legal requirements of wearing a seatbelt on a bus when it’s available.

The campaign will initially appear on buses and coaches to ensure people wear seatbelts, while a second awareness campaign later this year will coincide with peak holiday travel periods.

Road safety advocate John Gaffney, who was impacted by the crash directly, has also welcomed and supported the safety campaign being launched.

“Wearing a seatbelt doubles the chance of surviving a crash and reduces the risk of injury. In NSW, each year, on average, 29 drivers and passengers are killed and around 79 seriously injured in crashes when not wearing available seatbelts. Many of these deaths and injuries could have been prevented if seatbelts had been worn,” Gaffney says.

“I also welcome the work transport officials in NSW are doing with the bus and coach industry to ramp up activities already being done to roll out seat belts on school buses and support the community and the bus industry in complying with seat belt laws.”

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