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Adopt US system for safer school buses

Once again, we read of schoolchildren being injured after getting off a school bus and, once again, we have to hope and pray that the boy and girl involved make a full recovery from their serious injuries.

While such incidents are infrequent, the unfortunate fact is that they do happen on a regular basis.

Buses and coaches on school services, whether owned by the education boards, Translink, or private operators, are legally required to display flashing amber lights to the front and rear while the vehicle is stopped for the purpose of picking up, or setting down, children.

These lights are meant to warn passing motorists of the possibility of children on the road, in order that they can proceed with caution while overtaking.

It may be appropriate to look at the system in place in the United States, whereby school buses display red lights and a stop sign when students are getting on or off.

It is mandatory for passing, or oncoming, vehicles to stop while these lights are on and drivers who disregard the warnings are liable to prosecution.

I suggest this practice be looked at with a view to introducing similar legislation locally.

It would surely be a small price to pay to save the lives of our young people.

BRIAN CONNOLLY

Moira, Co Down

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