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Coroner calls for reversing cameras after bus death

Queensland coroner wants reversing cameras to be fitted to all commercial passenger vehicles after the death of a woman

Gary Worrall | October 19, 2012

Queensland Coroner Stephanie Tonkin has called for reversing cameras to be fitted to all commercial passenger vehicles after the death of a woman in 2009.

Jennifer Ann Boon of Beerwah died after she was struck by a 33-seat bus that had just dropped her off near her home early on July 12, 2009.

The coroner absolved bus driver Louise Blessington of all blame, despite police initially laying charges of driving without due care and attention. Police withdrew the charges prior to trial in 2010, saying Boon’s death “was not as a result of careless or negligent conduct on the part of Ms Blessington”.

Tonkin considered calls for all bus operators to give “serious consideration” to the fitting of reversing cameras to all passenger vehicles “capable of being fitted with such equipment”.

Another submission also advocated installing pedestrian protection radar systems with automatic braking “to stop a vehicle that is being driven toward a pedestrian”.

Tonkin rejected this on the submission of Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads that the systems are limited in effect, and any system involving brakes cannot be retrofitted.

Tonkin recommended drivers must ensure “unrestricted or adequate” visibility to the rear of the vehicle using either an assistant, physically getting out of the bus to check, a camera or other “appropriate means”.

Tonkin also recommended all companies operating in Queensland give serious consideration to the installation of reversing cameras on all passenger vehicles capable of being fitted with such equipment.

While the case deals specifically with a bus incident, truck drivers regularly face similar situations, including poorly lit rest areas and crowded loading docks, with numerous vehicle movements and pedestrians walking between trucks and other equipment.

Already, numerous truck manufacturers offer reversing and side view cameras to help deal with these issues, with Japanese manufacturer Hino going one step further by introducing infrared cameras that detect the heat signature of people, regardless of the amount of ambient light.

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