Bus Industry Taskforce to broaden remit to look at bus safety and seatbelts
The Minns Labor Government has urgently instructed the NSW Bus Industry Taskforce to examine the adequacy of bus and coach safety regulation in NSW.
Following the tragic bus incident in the Hunter Valley, the taskforce will now also look at a number of current concerns around safety management, seat belt use and regulatory arrangements.
Specifically, the taskforce will examine the following:
- The adequacy of retrofitting seat belts on school buses in regional NSW over the past 10 years.
- Consideration of expanding seat belts on buses to other areas of the state, and enforcement of seat belt laws.
- Whether any changes should be recommended to the Australian Design Rules for buses and coaches.
- Bus and coach operator safety management systems, including driver training and fatigue management.
The taskforce will also review Transport for NSW’s oversight of operators and their ability to actively manage, monitor and implement safety management systems; as well as engaging the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) to review if any gaps in risk management of bus safety exits between the 2 agencies and bus and coach operators.
Transport for NSW is working with NSW Police and will seek their recommendations on the implementation of any necessary measures to ensure the safety of the travelling public.
NSW Transport Minister Jo Haylen has also appointed Darren Lane as a member of the Taskforce to provide independent safety advice on bus operations in NSW.
Mr Lane has more than 20 years of experience assisting major Australian organisations in government and the private sector improve safety systems, including the former State Transit Authority.
The taskforce will deliver any early findings on increasing bus and coach passenger safety by 31 July 2023.
The taskforce has already identified actions to help to help address the bus driver shortage and get more services running, including making it quicker, easier, and cheaper for drivers to get their bus driver authority.
Minister for Transport Jo Haylen said:
“When tragic events like this happen, we need to look at what we can do to ensure this doesn’t happen again.
“Passengers get onto buses and coaches expecting to be kept safe and the taskforce will look at what needs to be done to improve passenger safety across the industry.
“We know seat belts save lives but if there needs to be more enforcement around this issue put in place so something like this doesn’t happen again, we will do it.
“I thank Darren Lane for joining the taskforce and bringing with him decades of experience in the implementation of safety systems. His expertise will be crucial in reviewing what is already in place and what we can do better.”