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Road toll isn’t simply a number. It is people. And sadly, it is closer to home than we think.

As a long-term member of the Local Government Road Safety Program (LG RSP), Strathfield Council is proud to be a strong advocate of road safety awareness. In conjunction with Roads & Maritime Services (RMS), Council works closely with enforcement agencies and local stakeholders to engage the community and address unsafe behaviour on the roads. Better understanding of road safety issues and solutions is integral to achieving our goals. The multi-pronged strategy involving education, enforcement and engineering works has proven to be a highly effective approach.

Commitment to the program is demonstrated by the employment of a part-time Road Safety Officer (RSO), who will support Council’s Traffic Engineer to address local road safety concerns. The RSO will run public education campaigns and deliver several road safety initiatives targeting road users.

There are three main concerns in Strathfield LGA:

  • Young drivers
  • Pedestrians
  • Speed

Data obtained from RMS shows that in the Strathfield Council local government area (LGA) for the 5 year period between 2013 and 2018, young drivers are over-represented, making up 29% of all motor vehicle drivers involved in crashes. 6% of all road crashes in Strathfield involved speeding, with fatigue accounting for 5% of crashes. Alcohol was a contributing factor in 3% of crashes.

Of casualties by road user group, motor vehicle drivers ranked highest at 72% (significantly higher than 64% for both Sydney and NSW region). Motor vehicle passengers came next at 15% (again higher than Sydney and NSW regions).

Ongoing areas of road safety concern for Council include pedestrian safety, safety around schools, driver distraction, occupant restraint use, fatigue, alcohol and motorcyclist safety.

Projects to address these areas and any other road safety concerns that may arise are run each year with funding from Council and the RMS. These projects are targeted at the relevant groups or the general population and are designed to increase the awareness of road safety and its importance in our lives.

Road Rules Awareness Week (February/March) provides an annual opportunity for drivers to refresh their knowledge of existing rules and learn details of new or changed rules. It also allows pedestriansmotorcyclists, passengers and cyclists to better understand the rules and improve their safety on or near the road.

During Road Rules Awareness Week, road users are encouraged to phone the Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) contact centre on 13 22 13 to have their questions answered. Road safety experts can help provide advice on even the most complicated enquiries quickly and clearly. Road users are also invited to view the NSW Road Users Handbook.

The RMS publication Top 10 misunderstood road rules in NSW provides simple answers to many road rule questions, including how to indicate at a roundabout, when to use high-beam and fog lights, and when it is permitted to make a U-turn at traffic lights.

For further information or to obtain a printed copy of the brochure Top 10 misunderstood road rules in NSW, please visit the Strathfield Council’s Customer Service at 65 Homebush Road, Strathfield, the Strathfield Library at 65-67 Rochester Street, Homebush or contact Council’s Road Safety Officer on 9748 9605.

Speeding
Pedestrian Safety
Drink Driving
School Zones
Kiss and Ride Zones
Driveway Safety
Car Child Restraints
Learner Drivers
Walk Safe
Fatigue
Speeding

Your choice of speed can affect others as well as yourself.

Speed is the second biggest contributing factor to crashes within Strathfield LGA. Six per cent of all crashes were speed related. As such it is a priority of Council that drivers respect the posted speed limits and thus respect the safety of the local traffic environment. Our “Please Slow Down” campaign aims to:

  • Raise driver awareness regarding the speed at which they travel within Strathfield
  • Reduce the speed at which vehicles travel through Strathfield
  • Reduce the number of speed related crashes in Strathfield

Council uses a variable message sign (VMS) to inform and remind drivers of the posted speed limit on local roads. The streets targeted are a result of residents’ complaints or comments, police advice, or stretches of long straight roads. Areas that report high speeds may be further investigated with the use of speed counters.

Working Towards Zero

Using the Safe System approach, the NSW Centre for Road Safety has developed practical solutions to reduce death and serious injuries on our roads. The approach aims for zero tolerance – no death or serious injury on our road network is acceptable.

For further information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au  or roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au.

Pedestrian Safety

Look Out Before You Step Out

Taking risks and not being mindful on the roads can end in tragedy.

To increase the safety of pedestrians and raise awareness about safe usage of shared spaces, Strathfield Council and RMS will be funding installation of Look Out Before You Step Out stencils at identified pedestrian intersections.

Targeting high risk urban roads with large pedestrian volumes, the campaign encourages road users to make safe decisions. This will supplement ‘Stop, Look, Listen, Think’ pictorial road signs that were previously installed at Strathfield Square, Homebush Station, Homebush Shopping Precinct, Flemington Station, Flemington Markets and Strathfield Park.

Kids Need a Hand in Traffic

Strathfield Council supports “Kids Need a Hand in Traffic” campaign to inform adults about ways to ensure children are as safe as possible in traffic.

Children are unpredictable, smaller and hard for drivers to see. They cannot accurately judge speed, distance or the direction sounds are coming from. They are not ready to be left alone around traffic until they are at least 10 years old.

Adults should act as positive role models for children and set good examples of safe pedestrian practices.  Whenever you cross the road with a child, take their hand and discuss why we cross at traffic lights or pedestrian crossings, where to wait, what to look for and what to listen for.  Ask the child to tell you when they think it’s safe to cross.

For further information visit www.kidsafensw.org or www.kidsandtraffic.mq.edu.au

Drink Driving

If you’re drinking, don’t drive.

Alcohol is a major cause of serious road accidents. One in five people injured or killed on our roads are affected by alcohol, with men making up the largest share of drink drivers involved in fatal crashes.

In Strathfield LGA, alcohol accounted for 3% of crashes, lower than both Sydney and NSW regions. This issue is being addressed through state-wide multimedia campaigns and via initiatives from meetings of Flemington Liquor Accord.

Alcohol related crashes can be avoided by planning ahead of time not to drive. Consider using public transport or appointing a designated driver. You can also take a taxi or arrange for a friend or relative to give you a lift.

The Plan B campaign is specifically aimed at young male drivers aged 17-25, who are over represented in crash statistics. It encourages making positive choices to get home after a night out. Plan B is supported by range of transport options as well as RBT – mobile random breath testing police operations that can happen anytime and anywhere

By changing attitudes to drink driving, the campaign aims for reduction in road toll and awareness around enforcement.

Additionally double demerit points and stringent penalties apply for drink driving during stipulated periods.

For further information visit www.rms.nsw.gov.au or http://roadsafety.transport.nsw.gov.au/campaigns/planb.html

School Zones

Safety Around Schools

Safety Around Schools is an initiative that safeguards the interests of one of the most vulnerable road user groups. It is a collaborative partnership involving school authorities, rangers, police and local government agencies.

School zones reduce the risk and potential severity of a crash. They operate from 8-9.30am in mornings and 2.30-4pm in afternoons.

At the start of each school year, many new parents are introduced to parking and speed limit restrictions in school zones, which may be unfamiliar. As our students embark on their lifelong learning process, Strathfield Council urges parents, carers and road users to model positive behaviour by observing and obeying traffic rules. This will greatly assist school staff and local authorities as they strive to embed road safety. Stringent penalties and demerit points apply for violations and are enforceable by law.

Council, in partnership with local schools is constantly working to improve parking, traffic flow and road user behaviour in school zones. Part of Council’s road safety program aims to inform parents and carers of the risks to children from speeding and illegal parking around schools. An education phase is followed by enforcement from council rangers and local police officers.

As a community we are all aware that children are at higher risk in traffic because of their size and inability to judge speed and distance.
When in school zones, please observe the following guidelines to reduce risk to children:

  • Abide by 40 km/h speed limits
  • Do not use mobile phones
  • Do not park in the school bus zone, on the zebra crossing or on footpaths
  • Never double park. This reduces driver visibility, causes congestion and puts children at risk.
  • Never call your child across the road
  • Always encourage your child to enter and exit the car from the kerb
  • Be patient & observe the directions of the School Crossing Supervisor
  • Abide by Kiss & Ride initiatives
  • Give way to pedestrians entering or leaving driveways
  • Be Bus aware – watch out for wig-wag lights, slow down and give way
  • Remember children are full of surprises! Expect the unexpected. Watch out for kids and think for them – they make mistakes.

By following the rules around school zones we can work together to ensure the safety of our children.

School Zone Penalties
  • Speeding – minimum fines of $192 and 2 demerit points.
  • Approaching a children’s crossing or pedestrian crossing too quickly to stop safely – $572 fine and 4 demerit points.
  • Double parking – $344 fine and 2 demerit points.

School zone penalties apply to offences committed in school zones on gazetted school days.

Kiss and Ride Zones

The majority of schools in Strathfield have Kiss and Ride zones, operating during school zone times.

Strathfield Town Centre also has a Kiss and Ride zone for your convenience.

Kiss and Ride zones and ‘No Parking’ zones operate under the same conditions.

  • The penalty for disobeying a ‘No Parking’ sign are $114 for areas not in a school zone.
  • For areas in a school zone, the penalty and demerit points for disobeying a ‘No Parking’ sign are $191 and 2 demerit points.
Driveway Safety

It only takes a second for a tragedy to happen.

Every year in Australia around 50 children are run over in the driveway of their family home.

The sad fact is small children can be impossible to see from inside a car, especially if they are immediately behind it.  It only takes an instant for a toddler to move into the path of a moving vehicle. While the circumstances are always awful, it’s worth remembering many of these deaths and injuries can be avoided.

The best preventative measure will always be direct supervision – always hold your child’s hand or hold them close where ever there is a moving vehicle, this includes car parks and when walking past residential driveways.

Driveways and yards which are used by cars and trucks are like small roads and should never be considered safe ‘play’ areas for children

All care should be taken by drivers reversing vehicle in home driveways, on the street and in shopping centre car parks.

For further information visit www.kidsafensw.orgwww.nrma.com.au or www.kidsandtraffic.mq.edu.au.

Car Child Restraints

Make the safest choice

All children up to seven years of age must be safely fastened into the right restraint for their age and size.

A child who is properly secured in an approved child restraint is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not.

Free Child Car Seat Safety Check

Council in conjunction with RMS runs free restraint check/fitting days. Bookings are essential. Contact council’s Road Safety Officer on 9748 9605 to find out more.

Child restraints that are older than 10 years are no longer deemed safe.

Australian Standards and test results

All child restraints sold in Australia must comply with the Australian/New Zealand Standard AS/NZS 1754 Child restraints for use in motor vehicles. Most of the child restraints sold in Australia have been tested and assessed under the Child Restraint Evaluation Program (CREP).

The CREP is run by a consortium of Australian government agencies and motorist organisations and gives consumers independent and consistent information on child restraints.

For more information and a comprehensive list of CREP test results go to www.childcarseats.com.au.

National Child Restraint Laws

The national child restraint laws state:

  • Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
  • Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
  • Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat. Children aged from seven years old but under 16 years old who are too small to be restrained by a seatbelt properly adjusted and fastened are strongly recommended to use an approved booster seat.
  • Children in booster seats must be restrained by a suitable lap and sash type approved seatbelt that is properly adjusted and fastened, or by a suitable approved child safety harness that is properly adjusted and fastened.

Remember

  • Using a restraint correctly greatly increases a child’s safety during a crash.
  • Placing a child in a restraint that is designed for a larger/older child increases the risk of serious injury in a crash.
  • Ensure the restraint is installed correctly. See a restraint fitter if in any doubt.
  • Always use the top tether strap where required.
  • Teach your child to always keep both arms within the harness system of the child seat or the seat belt of the      booster seat.
  • When using a seat belt with a booster, ensure the seat belt is correctly fitted over the child’s shoulder.
  • Move your child into a forward-facing restraint only when they no longer fit into a rearward-facing restraint.
  • Move your child into a booster seat only when they no longer fit into a forward-facing restraint.
  • Always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Learner Drivers

Supervision of Learner Driver Workshops

Younger drivers face multiple challenges when learning the complex task of driving a vehicle. With their inexperience, they also face a higher risk of danger. Despite making up only about 15 per cent of all drivers, younger drivers represent more than a third of annual road fatalities.

Council in conjunction with the Roads and Maritime Services runs free workshops for parents and other supervisors of learner drivers.

The workshops offer practical advice on how to help learner drivers become safer drivers.

These two hour workshops provide practical advice about:

  • Understanding the benefits of supervised on-road driving experience
  • How to plan on-road driving sessions
  • Issues surrounding the supervision of learner drivers
  • Completing the Learner Driver Log Book
  • Understanding the new laws for L and P licence holders

Future workshops

Bookings for workshops are essential. To register, or for more information, please contact council’s Road Safety Officer on 9748 9605 or email usha.arvind@strathfield.nsw.gov.au.

Learner drivers can now choose from one of three new apps to record their driving hours and submit log books. The apps provide learner and supervising drivers with similar features to the paper log book, including information on safe driving practices.

It is illegal for learner drivers to use any function of a mobile phone while driving. All of the apps let you ‘set and forget’ by starting the app while you’re safely parked out of the line of traffic, then put your phone away while you’re driving. The apps will record your drive in the background.

The apps can be downloaded from the Apple Store or Google Play. Find out more on the Roads and Maritime Services website.

Important changes from 20 November 2017:
Learners: You'll need to pass the Hazard Perception Test before you attempt your driving test and apply for a P1 licence.
P1: You won't need to do a test to apply for a P2 licence. As long as you have had your P1 for at least 12 months, you'll be able to apply for a P2 without having to do the Hazard Perception Test.
P2: The Driver Qualification Test is being removed, so after 20 November 2017, if you've had your P2 licence for at least 24 months, you can apply for your full licence without doing a test. BUT do the wrong thing and you'll be on your P2 for a lot longer - get suspended for gaining too many demerit points, or for higher risk offences like speeding more than 30km/h over the limit, and you'll be staying on your P2 for another 6 months before you can apply for a full licence. And that's on top of your time out suspension period – getting suspended for 3 months can add at least 9 months extra to your P2 time before you can apply for a full licence.

Further information

Geared – www.rms.gov.au/geared: information for young drivers

George Institute for Global Health

The George Institute for Global Health provides some discussion for parents and supervisors of learner drivers on ‘How to support your teen learning to drive’.
Click here for further information.

Walk Safe

Council works with local pubs and clubs during the Christmas season to minimise the risks associated with drink walking by reminding patrons that if they have been drinking walk safe.

A key message of the campaign is that you do not have to be drunk to be affected by alcohol. Alcohol impairs brain function leading to slower responses and reactions, poor decisions and reduced ability to judge speed and distance.

People who are intending to drink are strongly advised to arrange in advance their safe journey home by planning not to drive and walk safely using well lit streets, traffic lights and pedestrian crossings; and arranging to share a taxi with friends, catch public transport, ride with a driver who has not been drinking or taking drugs, or organising a lift from a friend or relative.

Fatigue

Don’t trust your tired self

Fatigue is a general term commonly used to describe the experience of being “sleepy”, “tired” or “exhausted”. Fatigue is both a physiological and a psychological experience. A person suffering from fatigue has slowed reflexes and reduced function in daily life this includes on the road, in the workplace and at play.

Driver fatigue contributes to many hundreds of deaths and injuries on our roads each year. Fatigue plays a role in up to 30% of fatal crashes and up to 15% of serious injuries needing hospitalisation. In the Strathfield LGA, fatigue is an issue of concern.

Driver fatigue can be as deadly as drink driving or excessive speeding.

Driver fatigue can severely impair judgment and can affect anyone. It is particularly dangerous because one of the symptoms is decreased ability to judge our own level of tiredness. Other symptoms vary between drivers, but may include:

  • Poor Concentration
  • Yawning
  • Tired & sore eyes
  • Restlessness
  • Drowsiness
  • Slow Reaction
  • Making fewer & larger steering corrections
  • Missing road signs
  • Mircrosleeps
  • Boredom
  • Feeling irritable
  • Experiencing difficulty staying in the lane

High risk times for fatigue related crashes

  • Night time to early morning: 10pm – 6am
  • Afternoon: 1pm – 3pm

How to avoid Driver Fatigue

  • Sleep get at least 7 to 8 hours per night, particularly before long trips.
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Get exercise
  • Avoid driving between midnight and 6am
  • Inform your manager and doctor if you are feeling tired regularly
  • Plan your journeys
  • Delay your trip if you are too tired to drive safely
  • Take a break from driving at least every 2 hours
  • Share driving where possible
  • Consuming carbonated beverages may delay the onset of fatigue
  • Don’t drink alcohol before or during your trip
  • If using medication check with your doctor or chemist before driving

Maintain your alertness with healthy choices

  • Start your day by eating some carbohydrate foods (bread, cereal or fruit) combined with a low fat protein food (low      fat milk, yoghurt, cheese, baked beans, a small serve of lean meat, fish or chicken.
  • Carbohydrates regulate your blood sugar levels and proteins enhance alertness, mental function and the ability to cope      with stress.
  • Eat every two to four hours to regulate your blood sugar levels. Unstable blood sugar levels can result in tiredness and lack of energy.

Facts

Fatigue has been identified in:

  • 7% of all NSW crashes
  • 5% of all Sydney crashes
  • 5% of all Strathfield LGA crashes

Fatigue was recorded as contributing factor in 31 crashes during 2011-2015. The highest number was for motor vehicle controllers in 30-39 age group, followed by 20-29 age group.

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