Bus safety in New South Wales is to be tightened after a horrific accident

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said the Government needed to look at what could be done to ensure a tragic event like the Hunter Valley bus crash did not happen again.

“Passengers get on buses and coaches expecting them to be safe, and the taskforce will examine what needs to be done to improve passenger safety across the industry,” she said. “We know seat belts save lives, but if this issue needs stronger enforcement to prevent this from happening again, we will.”

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said the Government must take action on bus safety.

NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen said the Government must take action on bus safety.Credit: Jessica Hromas

Since the tragic Hunter Valley bus accident, parent groups in Sydney have once again urged the government to install seat belts on all school buses.

The Government has tasked the taskforce to examine the adequacy of retrofitting seat belts on school buses in the NSW regional region over the past decade. Last year, a $237 million project to install seat belts on the state’s fleet of nearly 2,600 special school buses in regional areas was completed.

Under Australian regulations, buses classified as “route service buses” that include school services, or buses with passenger seat backs less than one meter high, are not required to wear seat belts.


Jake Olivier, associate director of the Transport and Road Safety Research Center, said it makes sense to fit seatbelts on buses operating in rural and outer metropolitan areas because they would be traveling at higher speeds. “Education is typically ineffective in changing people’s driving behavior, but fatigue management is,” he said.

Haylen has appointed safety expert Darren Lane to the taskforce to provide independent safety advice on bus operations in New South Wales.

By July 31, the task force will present initial findings on how to improve passenger safety in buses and coaches.

BusNSW, representing private bus operators, was asked to comment.

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Justin Scaccy

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