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Driving dangers . . . Timaru District Council's road safety co-ordinator Daniel Naude was encouraging safer driving across the region in September. PHOTO: THE COURIER FILES

2018 was an eventful year for South Canterbury. The Courier reporters Greta Yeoman, Claire Allison and Chris Tobin look back at some of the leading stories of the year’s papers.

The safety of school pupils hopping on and off buses around the district was the focus of the February 22 edition.

The law states drivers must slow down to 20kmh while passing a stationary school bus.

But on state highways many drivers would go past anywhere from 90kmh to 100kmh, Atkinson and Dossett owner Chris Gifkins said.

Timaru District Council road safety co-ordinator Daniel Naude suggested a rule that children should wait in a safe area after getting off a bus until it had pulled away, so they could see clearly before crossing a road.

“Then there’s no blockage of view and they can cross the road when it’s safe, and people can slow down and be aware of that.”

Mr Gifkins said the speed of other vehicles was a continual problem for bus drivers.

“It’s been [a problem] for years.”

The company, which had already installed flashing lights on buses, installed neon 20kmh signs on the back of its buses as a trial.

Speaking again in December, Mr Gifkins said the trial had made a noticeable difference at the beginning.

There had also been several other bus companies that were “quite impressed” with the signage, he said.

But he believed drivers’ speed was all about education. If one car passed a bus at 100kmh, others would follow.

But if a driver slowed to 20kmh to pass a bus, other drivers behind would slow down too.

The Ministry of Education tender rounds for providing school bus transportation would occur later this year. If Atkinson and Dossett was successful, the company hoped to buy more signs.