Since January the New South Wales government has rolled out 100 flashing light devices to warn motorists that they are entering a school zone. While the 40 kmh limit is in force, before and after school, the lights flash. It’s pretty simple, and it’s hard not to see. At the same time, 25 of those locations have fixed speed cameras in operation. According to figures reported in the Daily Telegraph almost 20000 motorists have been snapped breaking the limit in the five months from January 29 until June 30. Remember, these infringements were recorded at locations with the flashing warning lights!
It’s one thing to object to speed cameras as nothing more than revenue raising devices, and to question their deterrent value when a driver is not aware of having been caught until several weeks after the event, but this is another matter entirely. In order to get caught in one of these school zones, a driver must pass the school zone sign, pass the new flashing warning lights, and pass a speed camera warning sign. There really is no excuse for getting caught in those circumstances.
Is it possible that people are so preoccupied with other matters that they fail to notice all those warnings? Or is it an indication that some people just don’t care? Either way, it’s not good news.
The results of the RTA’s assessment of the effectiveness of the new program are not yet known, but I would hope that they will show a reduction in school zone speeding. If you can’t see the flashing lights then quite simply you should not be driving at all. And if the flashing lights aren’t getting the desired results, I expect that the authorities will respond with even more speed cameras and higher penalties. If we want to avoid that happening, then we had better start paying attention to those flashing lights and slow down for schools.