Parents rally for belts on buses

DOES the school bus your child travels on have seatbelts?

The answer is most certainly ‘no’ yet these buses travel on narrow winding roads, or worse, at high speed on the Pacific Highway, along with B-doubles and other heavy traffic.

“I was stunned to discover this when we moved here 12 months ago,” Valla parent Christabel Wright said.

“But it is not only the lack of seatbelts on the high speed routes but also the fact that legally the children can stand in the bus aisles.

“We are terrified any accident could be a major tragedy, killing or injuring an entire busload of children.”

Ms Wright is a member of the Valla branch of BUS (Belt Up for Safety), an organisation that has been lobbying the NSW Government for seatbelts on school buses for more than 10 years.

With a State election in the wind BUS is stepping up its campaign and will be holding a rally in Bellingen next Thursday, January 27.

“We have timed the rally for just before school goes back – we want to really highlight how high the risks are and how crazy it is that this continues in NSW rural areas.

“The Government places so much emphasis on fastening your seatbelts – you can lose your licence if you don’t, but this anomaly continues on the school buses.”

Speakers at the rally will include Bellingen Shire mayor Cr Mark Troy, in his capacity as chair of the Pacific Highway Taskforce, and local doctor Alan Tankel.

Statements from the major political parties will also be read out.

Parents organising the rally are asking other local parents to come along on the day and show their support.

The rally will be held in front of the Bellingen Council Chambers from 10am.

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