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School Buses

Volume 173: debated on Wednesday 6 June 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the consultation paper, referred to in his answer of 14 November 1989 to the hon. Member for Torridge and Devon, West (Miss Nicholson), Official Report, column 111, on the requirement for a distinctive sign to be carried on school buses, will be issued; and if he will make a statement.

Today. Draft regulations are being circulated to interested parties and their comments invited by 31 August.The proposed regulations would require all buses—except those running scheduled services for the general public—to display a distinctive sign while carrying children to or from their school. They would also permit the fitting of flashing amber lights near such signs, and their use when children are getting on or off the bus.The use of these signs will make a significant contribution to improving the safety of children using school buses. They will alert motorists to the fact that children are about and might be crossing the road. Motorists should exercise extra caution every time they overtake a stationary bus displaying the sign, whether or not it is equipped with the additional flashing lights.My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State announced recently a wide programme of steps to promote safety of children on roads. We hope that, taken together, all these measures will help to bring about the reduction in child road deaths that we all want to see.

The regulations would also require better reflective rear markings on new large lorries in future. The new markings are much brighter than those required by the present British standard. They would have to meet the latest European standard, ECE regulation 70. The new markings would also he permitted on existing vehicles as an alternative to the Btitish standard markings, which were introduced nearly 20 years ago.