Schools students will be strapping into new seat belts fitted to buses along the mid-north coast this month.
Under the Transport for NSW plan, buses dedicated to school runs in regional areas are expected to be progressively fitted with seat belts before December 2019.
Drivers will also undertake training covering seat-belt regulations and be trained in their responsibilities to verbally remind students to fasten their seat belts.
Busways’ North Coast operational regional manager Juliana Meta said seat belt-fitted buses would service schools in its mid-north coast regions from February.
“The addition of seat belts to rural and regional school buses is a Government initiative that was announced following recommendations made by the Independent School Bus Safety Community Advisory Committee’s inquiry into school bus safety in rural and regional NSW,” she said.
“Busways has always been an advocate for measures that improve safety on and around buses and welcomes the seat-belts as an additional safety feature on the fleet.
“The Government has invested $29 million in funding from the 2017-18 NSW Budget to ensure buses in rural and regional areas are equipped with seat belts.
“Seat belt-fitted school buses in the mid-north-coast and north-coast areas will be progressively rolled out.
“As per the Government’s initiative, schools in these areas will be utilising seat belt-fitted buses by the end of 2021.”
The NSW Government had previously promised in July 2013 to invest more than $200 million to install seat-belts on buses dedicated to school runs in regional NSW.
In 2017, it was announced funding in the 2017-18 NSW budget would fast track the campaign’s completion for all buses travelling on dedicated before December 2019.
The campaign would fit all 2,800 rural and regional buses with seat-belts by December 2021, replacing 415 buses and retrofitting 1,937 existing buses, while 515 vehicles have already been replaced.
Mid-north coast areas would include Port Macquarie, Kempsey, Laurieton, Wauchope, Heatherbrae, Bulahdelah, Macksville, Raleigh, Coffs Harbour, Grafton and Yamba.