Brake, the road safety charity and Rural Women New Zealand are urging drivers to stick to the law and remember to slow down to 20km/h when passing a school bus.

As schools have started to return for the new term, school buses will be back in operation taking children to and from school. The speed limit is 20km/h when passing school buses that are stopped to drop off or pick up children. The rule applies whichever direction you’re travelling in.

The organisations say that lots of drivers either don’t know the law or choose to break it, so are urging drivers to slow down and help save kids’ lives, because 20’s plenty around a school bus.

Drivers are also being reminded to slow down around schools and in communities. At speeds of under 30km/h drivers have a much better chance of being able to stop in time if a child runs out than at higher speeds.

Caroline Perry, Brake’s NZ director said: “The death of a child on the road is devastating so we’re reminding drivers to do what they can to protect children and young people by slowing down around school buses and schools. Children can be unpredictable so drivers need to give the road their full attention and look out for kids. The law says 20km/h is the speed limit around school buses, and drivers must remember that rule and slow down, so that if a child does make a mistake, they don’t pay for it with their life.”

Wendy McGowan, National President, Rural Women New Zealand said: “Rural Women New Zealand are advocates for safer rural roads. Rural children are especially vulnerable when drivers speed past school buses and have been involved in a number of serious and fatal crashes. Drivers need to pay attention to the speed limit of 20km/h when passing a bus that has stopped for children.”

Parents can also help protect their children by teaching road safety messages such as: holding hands with young children; safety when crossing the road and using stop, look and listen; crossing only at designated crossing points, or if there aren’t any, crossing at safe places, not on bends or between parked cars; taking headphones off, and not using a phone when crossing.


  • The speed limit is 20km/h when passing a stopped school bus, whichever direction you’re travelling in
  • Your stopping distance increases disproportionately to your speed. Slower speeds around schools and school buses mean you have a much better chance of stopping in time if a child runs out
  • At 20km/h your stopping distance is 8 metres
  • At 30km/h your stopping distance is 12 metres
  • At 40km/h your stopping distance is 18 metres
  • At 50km/h your stopping distance is 25 metres
  • Even a 5km/h difference in your speed could be the difference between life and death for a vulnerable road user like a child crossing the road