The government must act on bus safety

The government must act promptly to improve bus safety, says the car review website

Editor Clive Matthew-Wilson, who is an outspoken road safety campaigner, says three serious bus crashes in three weeks is unacceptable.

“There have been two deaths and multiple serious injuries. There’s a strong chance these injuries and deaths would not have occurred in Germany, because all buses must have seatbelts and all occupants must wear them.”

Matthew-Wilson is also highly critical of the number of buses sold new in New Zealand that lack Electronic Stability Control.

“It’s quite likely that Electronic Stability Control would have prevented all three recent serious accidents. ESC has been compulsory on cars since 2015, yet new buses are being sold without it. Why is this allowed?”

“The government needs to act to ensure that this lifesaving technology is fitted to all new buses. The government also needs to require all buses that travel more than 50km/h to be fitted with seatbelts.”

Matthew-Wilson says seatbelts can be easily retrofitted to most buses, although older buses may need to be strengthened.

“On modern buses, the seatbelts are built into the seat, which is simply bolted into place. This system is simple, affordable and effective. So why are there so many highway buses without seatbelts?”

“Compared to cars, buses are actually a very safe way of travelling.  At low speeds, such as around town, it’s not practical to require occupants to wear seatbelts. However, buses that travel our highways need to protect their occupants in the event of a collision.”

“New Zealand’s roads are particularly dangerous for buses, because they’re often narrow and winding; a perfect setup for a rollover accident.”

However, a 2012 study by the American government, concluded that: “[If installed on heavy vehicles], we believe that ESC systems could prevent 40–56% of rollover crashes and 14% of loss-of-control crashes.”