NSW School Zones back in operation from today

STAY ALERT: School Zones play a critical role in making sure NSW kids have a safe and happy start to the school holidays.

STAY ALERT: School Zones play a critical role in making sure NSW kids have a safe and happy start to the school year.

We remind motorists that School Zones are back in action in NSW from today.

It is a staff development day today in NSW public schools. While most students will return on Wednesday for the start of term, some private schools have students returning today.

“If it’s a gazetted school day, school zones are in place, that means from today, slow down to 40km/h every morning and afternoon, and be extra vigilant,” Roads minister Duncan Gay.

“It is especially important as term begins as we have new starters in kindergarten and Year 7 who are not familiar with roads around their school, as well as children who are just very excited to see their friends after a long break and could easily get distracted.”

The 40km/h school speed zones operate across NSW at all school sites on gazetted school days (including school development days). Motorists should drive no faster than 40 km/h through school zones. Most school zones operate from 8 to 9.30am and from 2.30 to 4pm on gazetted school days.

School zones operate and are enforced on pupil free days because pupil free days can vary from school to school. Consistent operation of school zones aims to reduce driver confusion, which improves the safety of school children.

These are the schools starting next week (3 Feb) – all in the far west of NSW. There are a small number of non-standard school zone times in NSW. They are identified by red/orange school zone signs to show non-standard times. Signs at these schools show the times that apply.

Do you get stressed driving in school zones?

What’s the deal with Diesel prices?

Over the last few weeks motorists have saved at the bowser with unleaded fuel prices hitting a six year low due to the fall in crude and refined oil prices. Despite this, Diesel fuel pricing has not changed.

Diesel price_edit

PEOPLE POWER: Motorists are encouraged to share cheaper fuel prices on social media.

The price of diesel is determined by international market forces (independent of market forces associated with petrol). At present there is strong international competition and an over-supply of petrol within the international market (due to the US producing more off their own petrol and relying less on imported oil from the Middle East).

This is a major factor in petrol prices being as low as they are. However this is not reflected with diesel as there is not the same level of competition internationally.

Pricing at the Bowser

Only 25 percent of diesel used in Australia is sold through retail outlets – with most diesel sold to bulk commercial/industrial customers i.e. mining and transport companies.

There is very little diesel sold to private customers (as opposed to petrol), so there is no need for retailers to provide the same level of discounting for diesel products, as most of the market share is with commercial/industrial customers – not motorists. Therefore, retail diesel prices, unlike petrol prices are not subject to aggressive price discounting. At service stations, retailers concentrate on petrol/LPG  discounting to drive overall fuel sales.

Motorists are encouraged use our online Petrol Watch price guide or share the cheapest fuel prices in their areas on our NRMA Facebook Page.

Have you noticed any changes to diesel fuel prices in your area? What’s been the cheapest price? 

What should you do if you see a pet locked inside a hot car?

dog-in-car

HOT DOG: Temperatures in a car can rise to dangerous levels and can rapidly reach more than double the outside temperature even on mild days. Six minutes is all it takes for a pet to suffer potentially fatal heatstroke.

Last month, we rescued over 100 pets from cars, with the majority of calls received by the vehicle owner.

You do not need to be a Member to call the NRMA in this situation, however you must be the vehicle owner. Because of the grave danger involved, we drop everything to respond to these calls which are managed through a priority line. Upon arrival, we provide skills and equipment to enter the vehicle or support emergency services.

The majority of these emergency calls are made by the vehicle owner, where permission has been given to access the vehicle. If you are not the vehicle custodian (eg, passer-by), try the obvious solution of checking if any doors are unlocked. If not, you should contact the emergency services immediately (000) who will liaise directly with the NRMA or who may break the window themselves, depending on the circumstances. 

While most vehicles can be unlocked by following appropriate lock-out procedures, there will be circumstances when breaking a window will be the most reasonable action.

Criminal Offence 

There are specific provisions in relation to ‘Carriage and Conveyance’ of animals in the Prevention of cruelty to Animals Act. In relation to dogs locked in cars, section 5 would apply: “a person in charge of an animal shall not fail at any time (b) where pain is being inflicted upon the animal to take such reasonable steps as are necessary to alleviate the pain”.

In relation to the provision of water, Section 8 (1) states that ‘a person in charge of an animal shall not fail to provide the animal with food, drink or shelter etc’.

These offences can carry fines of $5,500 and up to six months in jail. If a dog dies as a result of being left in a car, charges include $22,500 in fines and two years jail time for the owner.

We encourage all our Members to take the RSPCA Pledge to never leave your dog in a hot car.

Have you ever come across a pet locked inside a vehicle. What did you do? 

Keeping your pets safe when driving

Love That Pet - Dog in car

Every year in Australia over 5000 dogs are injured in motor vehicle accidents. Whether it is a short or a long trip, making sure your pet is properly secured protects you, your pet and other passengers from serious injury.

As a vet, I have seen some serious injuries from falls and crashes where pets were not properly restrained. For example, a young pup taking its first trip on the back of a ute in the centre of Sydney fell off. Thankfully he escaped with only minor injuries and it was a great reminder that dogs should always be tethered on utes.

Inside the car, an unrestrained pet can form a very heavy and dangerous projectile. Even at low speeds of around 20km/h your pet could end up flying through the windscreen should you hit another vehicle. If you really want to scare yourself, check out this YouTube video showing some crash test doggies in simulated crashes designed to test some common car restraints.


So how do we keep our pets safe?

Firstly it is illegal in all states of Australia to have our pets sitting on our lap during the drive. We’ve all seen it, we may have even done it before, but there are so many reasons why this is dangerous. While I consider myself to be an excellent driver, accidents do happen and of course they are never my fault!

The other legalities of travelling with pets are state specific, but country-wide a pet must be properly restrained and not interfering with the driver’s ability to concentrate. Owners can also be fined under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act if their animal is injured in an accident due to being improperly restrained.

So what sort of restraint should I use?

Pet-Seatbelts from petco.comThere are a number of different options available. Unfortunately not all of them set out to perform as they should..  If you are tethering using a seatbelt harness, check that it has been crash tested at a realistic speed, at least 35 km/h. If using a pet travel carrier ensure that it is very well secured as it can become a lethal object in a crash, with or without a pet inside. The best place for any pet or carrier is behind a cargo barrier in the rear of the vehicle. If this is not possible, secure the carrier with the seat belt around it.

Travel with cats and small furries

Cats and smaller creatures like ferrets and rodents should always be in a proper cat carrier in a vehicle. My favourite story to convince owners to ensure their cats are secure involves a tiny kitten that managed to escape its owner’s arms in a car and ended up hiding behind the steering wheel column. The car had to be taken apart to get the terrified kitten out. Cats love to hide so the best way to transport them is in a proper cat carrier behind a cargo barrier or with the seatbelt secured around it. Visit here to find some tips on how to safely and easily get your cat into the carrier.

So how do you keep your pets safe in the car? What sort of restraint do you have?

Dr-Eloise-BrightAuthor Bio: With 7 years of small animal vet practice in Sydney, Dr. Eloise Bright from www.lovethatpet.com is an animal lover and advocate for all animals from baby birds to stray kittens. Chat with her and her dog, Duster and cat, Jimmy on Google+.

Take two: authorities work to avoid repeat of traffic chaos caused by George St closure

MORE DELAYS FORECAST: The road closures will be in place until January 12.

MORE DELAYS FORECAST: The road closures will be in place until January 12.

They were the road works that took Sydney by surprise – and transport groups are working to avoid a repeat of the resulting chaos.

Northern Sydney residents returning to work in the CBD after the Christmas holidays had even more reason to be glum after getting caught for hours in a traffic jam caused by the closure of George St for light rail construction.

At one stage, the queue of buses stretched back across the Harbour Bridge and city workers reported delays of up to two hours.

It was later revealed that cabling for a key traffic light phasing unit had been damaged by crews working on the light rail, hampering efforts by authorities to manage the crisis.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said one eastbound lane will reopen on Grosvenor St between 4-8pm today as part of a revised traffic plan that will also introduce sweeping changes to morning peak hour traffic flows.

A key change is the re-routing of express buses from the northern suburbs and beaches via the Cahill Expressway with a set-down on Bridge St, removing more than 100 buses from York St.

“Hillsbus services to the Queen Victoria Building will travel via the Western Distributor and Bathurst Street instead of York Street, also removing more than 100 buses from York Street during the morning peak,” he said.

“Motorists and bus customers should still expect some delays because early work is focused on some of the busiest intersections in the city.”

Bus tickets can be used to catch trains between Chatswood and the City on the T1 North Shore Line as well as City Circle trains.

The spokesman said the road closures – which will be in place until January 12 – were put in place now because traffic is at its lightest at this time of year.

The work involves identifying and relocating utilities such as power, gas and telecommunications.

Do you find that traffic is lighter at this time of year?

Transport for NSW statement