Honiton parents’ anger after school bus crash
PUBLISHED: 07:05 02 February 2017
Highways chiefs slammed for refusing to grit steep Northcote Hill which is prone to black ice
Angry Honiton parents have slammed highways chiefs for refusing to grit a steep hill where a packed school bus skidded on black ice and crashed last week.
The accident happened on Northcote Hill on Tuesday, January 24, when a lorry also came to grief in the slippery early morning conditions.
No one was seriously hurt, but parents say it was an accident waiting to happen because the county council has repeatedly refused to grit the surface or provide grit bins.
Parent Zoe Turner said: “My son was on the coach and phoned me to tell me he had been involved in a crash. My mother-law lives on this hill and has for the last 35 years. The council repeatedly has refused to leave a grit bin despite being asked lots of times. She has seen many accidents on this hill. And the hill is known by locals as a ‘no go’ area in freezing conditions.
“The coach went down the hill and touched his brakes as a lorry was coming up the hill. The lorry started sliding backwards on the black ice. The coach then lost control on the ice and slid into a wall.
“No children were hurt, but a couple had banged their heads.
“The council needs to grit this road to stop accidents happening. The road was thick black ice all the way to the top of the hill making it almost impossible to walk on let alone drive on.”
In a reply to parents’ concerns, Devon County Council has told them: “During a winter emergency situation it is not practicable or cost effective for the whole network to be pre-treated or cleared. The primary salting network is made up of the major routes where the majority of vehicle movements take place and also includes accesses to hospitals, ambulance stations, fire stations and other emergency service establishments, railway stations, airports and secondary schools.
“Despite our efforts, winter weather can still make roads treacherous.
“With over 90 per cent of all crashes attributed to human error, the real key to driving in winter is to drive with due care for the conditions. In severe winter weather the county council does not have enough resources to respond at a very local level.
“It has established a snow warden scheme which encourages town and parish councils to develop their own local snow plans and engage trained volunteers to increase local resilience in such conditions.”
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