NSW School Zones in place until Friday

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 holidays.

We remind motorists that School Zones will remain in place across the state until the end of this week.

“Even though we’re all starting to unwind, we need drivers to remember to be alert and safe around schools,” said Roads Minister, Duncan Gay.

Although many students finished their school year yesterday, school days vary with some being open until Friday, which is why school zones will remain in place across the state until the end of this week.

“Children can be unpredictable around roads – particularly during this time of year when they’re distracted by Christmas and holiday excitement – so we really need drivers to be extra careful,” said the Minister.

“Slow down to 40km/h during school zone hours, obey flashing lights avoid tricky manoeuvres and keep a look out because kids are about.

“Last year, we saw a tragic crash in the final week of school where a little boy visiting Sydney’s north west lost his life, and in December 2012 another boy was hit and killed on his way to school at Kingsgrove.

“We need your help to make sure this doesn’t happen again, so please, be aware and cautious around schools so our kids can have a safe and happy start to the school holidays.

“Parents and carers, remember that supervision is key so hold your child’s hand, drop them off and pick them up rather than calling them from across the road and talk to your kids about the need to stop, look, listen and think every time they cross a road.

We also remind drivers to take extra care on local roads and in holiday hot spots. Kids are out and about and may not always be familiar with the roads and associated dangers when they’re away from home.

Do you get stressed driving in School Zones?

Useful links:

Increased awareness of school zones thanks to the NRMA Sydney Clearways Strategy Keeping Sydney Moving The NRMA Decongestion Strategy NRMA Making a difference Traffic Improving on Victoria Rd Thanks to NRMA’s Decongestion Strategy NRMA’s 2013 school zone sign audit reveals almost half of schools still have faded signs

Casualties plummet on upgraded Princes Highway

The NRMA's latest review of the Princes Highway, covering almost 430 kilometres from Dapto to the Victorian border, tells "a tale of two roads".

The NRMA’s latest review of the Princes Highway, covering almost 430 kilometres from Dapto to the Victorian border, tells “a tale of two roads”.

Injury crashes have plummeted by as much as 90 per cent as a result of upgrades to the Princes Highway to the north of Jervis Bay, according to the National Roads & Motorists’ Association’s latest review of the Princes Highway.

The NRMA review compared the most recent five year data provided by the NSW Centre for Road Safety with the previous five years data. It assessed 428 km of the Highway from Dapto to the NSW/Victorian border. It tells a tale of two roads, with almost 300 km of the Highway south of Jervis Bay Road classed as high risk, compared with just over 30 km in the northern section.

It also reveals the huge benefits from investing in safer roads, with injury crashes plummeting by as much as 90 per cent as a result of recent Highway upgrades.

The review found that re-routing and upgrading the Highway to a dual lane divided carriageway between Oak Flats and Kiama slashed injury crashes by 48 over the five year period to 2012.

In contrast, there are 16 sections of the Highway to the south of Jervis Bay Road that continue to be rated a high risk for motorists. Together these 16 sections resulted in 523 injury crashes and 22 fatal crashes in the same period.

Key findings of the audit include:

  • From 2008-2012 there were 1,014 casualty crashes resulting in 45 deaths and 1,401 injuries (2003-2007 there were 1,015 casualty crashes, 64 deaths; 1,441 injuries);
  • Three-quarters (75%) of all injury crashes occurred on undivided sections of the Highway, rising to almost 90 per cent (89%) in rural sections
  • Upgrades to the Highway mean that nearly one-fifth (18%) of the Highway is now rated by the Australian Roads Assessment Program (AusRAP) as low or medium-low risk, almost double the amount from the previous five years (9%)
  • The proportion of the Highway that is now classed as high risk has increased to 77% (64% 2003-2007) reflecting an increase in traffic and risk on those sections that have still not been upgraded
  • The cost of injury crashes on the Princes Highway through lost productivity and the provision of emergency, health and welfare services has fallen to $483 million (2003-07: $610 million).

NRMA local Director Alan Evans said the Princes Highway Audit painted a clear contrast of the broad benefits achieved when Government invested in the road network.

“Sections of the Princes Highway that have been upgraded have seen a dramatic fall in fatalities and injuries and reduced congestion – as well as delivering economic benefits to local businesses,” Mr Evans said.

“The fact that injury crashes fell by almost 90 per cent along certain upgraded sections highlights the enormous benefits that can be achieved when we invest in fixing dangerous roads.

“By contrast, sections of the Highway – particularly south of Jervis Bay – that haven’t been upgraded continue to claim innocent lives at an alarming rate.”

The NRMA review identifies a possible staged approach to the Albion Park Bypass that would help to keep people moving in the short term before the full bypass is constructed.

It also suggests ways to improve the approach to the North Kiama exit ramp, which would reduce confusion for motorists and reduce the risk of rear-end collisions and traffic congestion.

The audit also revealed that while traffic volumes south of Jervis Bay may not justify the complete upgrade to dual lane divided carriageway, two-by-one lane upgrades divided by crash barriers and greater use of wire rope crash barriers would considerably reduce crash rates and save lives.

“This report provides the Government with clear measures to build on the good work undertaken in recent years to make the Princes Highway safer, less congested and a better asset for local communities and businesses along the South Coast,” Mr Evans said.

“The Pacific Highway has taken too long to upgrade and as a result too many lives have been lost – we don’t want to repeat these mistakes with the Princes Highway.”

Do you agree that the upgraded sections of the Princes Highway are safer to drive on?

New changes to road rules

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Emergency and incident response vehicles are now allowed to travel in breakdown lanes, in one of two major road rule changes in recent months.

Motorists will see NRMA roadside patrols, police, fire, rescue, ambulance vehicles, and tow trucks using the breakdown lane or road shoulders on fast moving roads to access breakdowns under the recent Road Rule Amendment 307-2.

In the second road rule change which was brought in recently, drivers no longer need to report a minor collision to police, even for insurance purposes.

If a vehicle needs to be towed and no one is injured, drivers can now simply exchange details, organise their own tow and leave the area. You should only call the police if another driver is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or if they fail to stop and exchange details.

If an injury develops after the fact, a collision can be reported at a later time to the Police Assistance Line on 131 444.

NRMA local Director Michael Tynan says an informed motoring public is a safer motoring public.

“Being aware of changing rules and road use can alleviate confusion if motorists find themselves in breakdown or minor collision situations,” Mr Tynan says.

“NRMA roadside patrols, incident responders and tow trucks can now use breakdown lanes to reduce response time to stranded motorists.”

ISOFIX child car seats now for sale in Australia

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Child safety seats designed to the international ISOFIX standard can now legally be sold in Australia, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) has confirmed this week.

The first one that meets child restraint Australian ISOFIX Standard, the Maxi-Cosi from Dorel, is already on the market. No doubt, other manufacturers are not far behind.

The ISOFIX system uses two metal clips in the base of the seat (or on flexible connectors on the base) that clip into metal loops in the joint between the back and base of the rear seat. It is claimed to reduce the incidence of incorrect installation of restraints. Parents and carers have to listen for the “click”, and tug the restraint after installation, to ensure the clips are properly engaged.

Britax17The Australian Standard includes the requirement for a top tether strap, which improves the restraint performance. This is not required in other countries, so it is illegal to use an imported restraint which does not comply with the Standard.

Experience overseas is that ISOFIX restraints are heavier, due to the metal frame incorporating the clips, and often more expensive than conventional restraints. Therefore, consumers should check these points before committing to a purchase.

Have you  heard of ISOFIX?  Are you interested in purchasing an ISOFIX restraint?

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Sydney CBD speed limit to be reduced to 40km/h soon

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Over the next fortnight there will be VMS road signs for motorists and a widespread advertising campaign including newspaper and radio ads to make sure anyone who missed the announcement in May is ready for the change.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: Over the next fortnight there will be VMS road signs for motorists and a widespread advertising campaign including newspaper and radio ads to make sure anyone who missed the announcement in May is ready for the change.

Last week, NSW Minister for Roads and Freight Duncan Gay announced that a 40km/h speed limit will be introduced in a large part of the Sydney CBD  at the end of September.

“The CBD’s 40km/h speed limit zone will be rolled out from Saturday 27 September as we work to further improve pedestrian safety,” Minister Gay said.

“Considering a vehicle that hits a pedestrian at 50km/h is twice as likely to cause a fatality as the same vehicle travelling at 40km/h, this speed limit change will deliver significant safety benefits.

“The new 40km/h limit zone will operate in the area bound by Castlereagh Street to the east, Kent Street to the west and Hay Street to the south. It will also link in with the current 40km/h speed limit in The Rocks to the north of the CBD. The area will include a 40km/h speed limit on and adjacent to George Street.

“It’s not only motorist behaviour that needs to change – if you’re walking around, cross at the lights, obey traffic signals, look both ways before stepping onto the road and don’t get distracted by your phone,” Minister Gay said.

NRMA broadly supports the 40km/h speed limit. The average traffic speed in the CBD is around 20-30km/h so it won’t have any noticeable impact on traffic flow. We would urge people to be aware of the speed limit particularly where they might have come off the Harbour Bridge or Anzac Bridge at 70 or 60km/h and suddenly enter the CBD. Its important to know that the limit will be 40km/h, not 50km/h.

What do you think of this news?

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