SEATBELTS will be fast-tracked for Ballarat school buses after the region was identified as one the most dangerous school bus zones in the state.
Public Transport Victoria (PTV) has announced it will put in place the recommendations of a report on the installation of seatbelts on regional and rural school buses, with Geelong, the Otways, Mount Dandenong/Lilydale, Mornington Peninsula, Alpine Ranges and Ballarat to receive the greatest priority.
The report by Deloitte was commissioned by PTV on behalf of the Victorian government. It said: “A major driver for this priority was the presence of heavy vehicles, unsealed roads, speed limit, length and weather”.
Public Transport Victoria spokeswoman Helen Witton said PTV would conduct a detailed analysis of the school bus fleet and existing safety regulations, such as the responsibility for enforcement of proper seatbelt use on school buses, and the requirement for children under seven to use a booster seat.
“As part of the school bus fleet analysis, PTV is investigating the potential to reallocate school buses, once fitted with seatbelts, to run in these regions first,” Ms Witton said.
“Once all outstanding issues identified have been satisfactorily resolved and a detailed, formal implementation plan has been agreed with the Victorian government and all stakeholders, PTV will be able to commence seatbelt implementation on dedicated regional and rural free school buses.