Traffic experts herald success of flashing lights in making school zones safer | Map

QUICK AS A FLASH: Warning lights have now been provided at safety zones at all schools in Orange to alert motorists. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0719jklights3
QUICK AS A FLASH: Warning lights have now been provided at safety zones at all schools in Orange to alert motorists. Photo: JUDE KEOGH 0719jklights3

Installing flashing lights outside all schools in Orange has been a key factor in improving road safety for students.

You'd have to clearly be in la-la land not to notice them.

Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan, Road safety officer

Police and road safety backed their introduction this week while calling on motorists to behave in safety zones as students returned from holidays.

In the 2016-17 financial year just nine motorists in Orange were issued with school zone infringement notices.

A spokesman from the Office of State Revenue said five were for vehicles stopping in bus zones  and four for disobeying a no-parking sign in school zones.

That was down from the 10 motorists penalised in the two previous financial years.

However, it was higher than the number of drivers penalised in Bathurst [eight] and Dubbo [four].

A spokesperson for Transport NSW said additional flashing lights were installed outside Calare Public School, Kinross Wolaroi School and the Canobolas Rural Technology High School this year as part of a $5 million statewide program to ensure all schools were covered.

NSW Centre for Road Safety executive director Bernard Carlon said flashing lights and school zones had led to increased safety for students.

“152 flashing lights signs, to protect 80 schools, have been installed within the Bathurst Regional, Dubbo and Orange local government areas since 2011,” he said.

“The most significant indicator that school zones and flashing lights are effective is that there have been no child pedestrian deaths in an operational NSW school zone since 2013.

“As well, crash injuries have declined dramatically since school zones were introduced 20 years ago from 71 in 1996 to 22 in 2016.”

Canobolas Local Area Command crime manager Detective Inspector Bruce Grassick said police regularly patrolled all school zones in Orange targeting speeding, parking infringements and mobile phone use.

He said that while the drop in infringements was good news he urged motorists to remain vigilant.

Orange City and Cabonne road safety officer Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan said the flashing lights were a “great success” in alerting drivers.

“You’d have to clearly be in la-la land not to notice them,” she said.

Orange council traffic committee chair Russell Turner also backed the lights.

“The vast majority of people in Orange realise and respect them,” he said.

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