The NSW government has announced that it will act to improve road safety outside schools by installing 101 extra sets of school zone flashing lights around the state.
The lights let drivers know that they are approaching an area where there are school-aged pedestrians around, permitting them to adjust their speed accordingly.
Not only are school zones pedestrian-heavy areas during drop-off and pick-up times, but many of those pedestrians are children who may not have yet developed the awareness of motorists needed to stay safe when crossing roads.
NSW premier Barry O’Farrell said that flashing lights had proved effective in saving lives by slowing down the speed of motorists in school zones.
“Studies have found flashing lights cut motorists’ speed by around 7 km/h when they enter a school zone,” said Mr O’Farrell in a March 25 statement.
The cost of installing the new lights – at $2.5 million – will not require new investment as it will come from the current road safety budget.
“I’ve said savings found in the budget would be diverted towards frontline services and here’s the proof,” added Mr O’Farrell.
Minister for roads and ports Duncan Gay said that the sites chosen had been selected based on the School Pedestrian Risk Model.
This takes into account several factors such as pedestrian volumes, visibility, the road environment and the approach speed of vehicles.
“We are determined to increase safety for our children when they are entering and leaving the school yard and flashing lights are the best way to warn motorists to slow down when entering a school zone,” said Mr Gay.
Many areas will benefit from having new lights installed around schools, including Parramatta, Burwood, Miranda, Oatley, Wagga Wagga, Albury and more.
To complement these efforts to slow drivers down, the NSW government also announced this week that it had completed another project designed to get motorists on their way quicker.
The upgrade of the Cumberland Highway at the M4/Old Prospect Road/Great Western Highway interchange is now complete.
These works were part of a city-wide program to improve safety and reduce travel times for Sydney motorists.
“These Cumberland Highway works will make the intersection function better, reducing queuing and congestion which is not only frustrating, but can be a crash risk,” said premier O’Farrell in a statement.