Students set to belt up on buses

AAPThe West Australian

School students in country New South Wales will have to buckle up, with seat belts to be installed on school buses for the first time in the State's history.

The belts will be available on fleets covering school runs in rural and regional NSW.

They will be progressively installed and standing will be phased out on almost 1700 dedicated school services over 10 years, starting this financial year, NSW Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian announced on Tuesday.

The rollout of seatbelts is estimated to cost around $208 million over the period. Schools will be encouraged to use the buses fitted with seatbelts for excursions and other charters.

"The NSW government is making a substantial financial commitment to addressing an issue which is so important to communities in regional and rural areas," Ms Berejiklian said.

NRMA president Wendy Machin said it was a big step forward in ensuring the safety of children as they travelled to and from school each day.

"We know that students travelling to school in rural and regional areas are exposed to twice the risk of injury than those in the Sydney metropolitan area," she said.

More than 60,000 students across regional and rural NSW travel on the affected school buses each day.

But their trips are more dangerous as the buses they travel on drive at higher speeds than their city counterparts.

AAP

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