Motorists across NSW have been asked to take more care on the roads, with children across the state returning to school yesterday (January 27).
Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay said drivers must adhere to the 40 km/h speed limit in school zones between 8:00am and 9:30am and from 2:30pm to 4:00pm to ensure kids' safety.
"As a roads minister, father and grandfather – nothing is more important than the safety of our most vulnerable and inexperienced road users, our children," he stated.
"We know a vehicle that hits a pedestrian at 50 km/h is twice as likely to cause a fatality as the same vehicle travelling at 40 km/h, which is why school zone speed limits are so important."
Speeding is a common cause of car crashes, which result in many serious injuries and deaths on NSW roads each year. People who are involved in an accident involving a vehicle are often eligible to claim injury compensation, including cyclists and pedestrians.
Preventing car accident injuries
According to Mr Gay, all schools in the state have clear signage displaying when motorists should slow down because children may be in the area.
The government has also committed to implementing flashing lights outside academic institutions across NSW by the end of 2015. These are expected to provide further protection for kids, as well as raise driver awareness.
Member for Penrith Stuart Ayres welcomed the addition of the lights, which have already been installed in the area's schools.
"Students are learning important road safety skills through our road safety programs including Safety Town, and we're putting information right in the hands of parents with our guide to school zone safety," he stated.
The lights were installed over the Christmas Break, and Mr Ayres said they have already proven effective at lowering driver speeds.
Flashing lights rollout plan
Figures from Transport for NSW show 1,350 schools have implemented flashing lights, with a further 1,500 scheduled to follow suit over the next 12 months.
The lights are retrofitted to existing school zone signs, with Roads & Maritime Services working alongside schools to identify the best locations for installations.
However, Mr Gay urged drivers to take an active role in maximising safety for children on NSW roads.
"We also encourage motorists to download our popular Speed Adviser App, which uses audio alerts to inform drivers of operating school zones and if they exceed the speed limit," he said.