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Crashproofing Lives

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NSW has incorporated the Australian Road Rules and our local rules into a single set of NSW road rules. The July 2008 nationally agreed changes to the Australian Road Rules included some minor amendments to existing rules and new rules attracting fines and/or demerit points. From 1 November 2012, changes to NSW Road Rules will come into effect.

New Rules 01.11.12

  • Use of mobile phones
  • Pedestrians
  • Signalling at a Roundabout
  • U-Turns, and
  • ‘Do Not Overtake Turning Vehicle Signs’ – are some of the changes.

Read More Road Rule change from 1 November 2012>

Triangular road markings or ‘Dragon’s Teeth’ are currently being installed at the entry points to all 10,000 school zones across New South Wales to improve road safety for students. The Dragon’s Teeth are an innovative $14 million initiative, announced by the NSW Government in May 2009, which is in addition to the comprehensive school zone road safety program. The Dragon’s Teeth program involves painting triangular line-markings on the road pavement for up to 32.5 metres at the start of each school zone. Dragon’s Teeth are already used internationally and are a clever and cost-effective way of keeping children safe.

Benefits of Dragon’s Teeth

The Dragon’s Teeth markings further increase the visibility of school zones for motorists and provide a constant reinforcement to keep to the 40 km/h speed limit around schools. Combined with the existing signs, flashing lights and painted ‘40’ pavement markings on the road, the dragon’s teeth will ensure motorists know when they are driving through a 40km/h school zone. Most school zones operate between 8am and 9.30am and from 2.30pm till 4pm. Children are often unpredictable and do not always act safely around traffic. The visibility of the Dragon’s Teeth road markers will help remind motorists to slow down to 40 km/h during school zone times to protect children and keep them safe. The slower speed in school zones lessens the risk of crashes. Where crashes do occur, they are less severe, especially for children. For example, a car travelling at 50kmh is twice as likely to kill a pedestrian than a car travelling at 40km/h.

Rollout of Dragon’s Teeth

There is a massive works program associated with the rollout of the Dragon’s Teeth. Since the first Dragon’s Teeth were installed at Penrith in September 2009, work has continued across NSW. The Dragon’s Teeth are being progressively installed at all 3,154 schools across the state with the work expected to be complete by the end of 2010.

Read More Coming to 40 kmh school zones>

From late May 2010, learner and provisional (P1 and P2) driver licences issued to under 18s will incorporate new security features.

The new look licences will have the following additional security features: The date of birth of the licence holder will be repeated in the card background. A red box will surround the facial image. A reference to the date of the holder’s 18th birthday will appear in the banner of the card. The new features will be introduced progressively in motor registries across NSW. They will enhance the security features on the licence and will facilitate the visual identification of the age of under 18s.

The new licence will remain valid after the holder has turned 18 and will be valid until the expiry date shown on the card. Licences already issued to under 18s without these new security features will remain valid until the card’s expiry date.

Licences issued to over 18s will not be changing.

Read More The RTA is changing the look of licences for under 18 year olds>

On 4 November 2009, former NSW Premier Nathan Rees and Minister for Transport vid Campbell announced the introduction of new child restraint laws for children up to seven years of age.

Summary of changes From 1 March 2010:

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.

A transitional period will apply until 30 June 2010 to allow parents and carers to fully understand and comply with the new laws.

The transitional period does not provide an exemption for the new requirements regarding seating young children in the front seat.

Drivers will need to ensure that children younger than four years of age do not travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows. Drivers will also need to ensure that children aged four years to under seven years of age do not 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 the interests of improved child road safety it is recommended parents and carers of young children make every effort to comply with the new requirements as soon as possible.

New child restraint laws – Frequently Asked Questions

Choose the right child restraint

A child that 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.

Child restraints can be purchased from retail outlets or hired from some local councils, some maternity hospitals,

community groups and from privately run rental companies.

Child restraints available in Australia must meet the Australian /New Zealand Standard 1754:2004 Child restraints for use in motor vehicles. The standard is one of the toughest child restraint standards in the world and child restraints manufactured to this Standard offer good protection in a crash.

A significant number of the restraints have been tested and assessed under the Child Restrain Evaluation Programme (CREP).

Find out more about the results of these tests and the guidelines you should follow when buying a child restraint in the safer child restraints brochure.

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.

Installation

Follow all the manufacturer’s instructions carefully if you are fitting the restraint yourself. If the instructions have been lost, contact the manufacturer or seek advice from an RTA Authorised Fitting Station. Call 13 22 13 to find your nearest RTA Authorised Fitting Station.

Read More New child restraint laws>

From 19 December 2009, there are changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme for learner drivers.

Learner drivers who complete a one hour structured driving lesson with a fully licensed driving instructor can record three hours driving experience in their Learner driver log book. A maximum of 10 hours of lessons will be accepted and recorded as 30 hours in the Learner driver log book. In addition, learner drivers who are aged 25 and over will no longer be required to present a Learner driver log book prior to attempting the driving test. Note: These changes do not mean driving lessons are compulsory or that you should stop having lessons after reaching the 10 hours of training.

 Structured lessons

A fully licensed driving instructor must develop each structured lesson in conjunction with the supervising driver and their learner driver using the Driving instructor structured lesson planner. Driving instructors are required to keep a copy of each lesson plan completed in the Driving instructor structured lesson planner for auditing purposes. This is in order to ensure that learner drivers are receiving high quality structured lessons tailored to the needs of each learner driver. Each lesson must aim to develop and enhance the learner driver’s practical application of low risk driving principles, as outlined in the Learner driver log book. The Structured lesson record keeper is a summary of the structured lessons conducted on road by a fully licensed driving instructor. Structured lesson record keeper inserts are available from RTA Motor Registries, RTA Contact Centres or you can download a copy by accessing the link at the bottom of this page. This insert must be attached to the Declaration of Completion, on page 111 of the Learner driver log book. Structured driving lessons are to be recorded on the Structured lesson record keeper in order to be recognised under this new scheme. In addition any lessons recorded in the Learner driver log book prior to 19 December 2009 can be transferred from the log book to the insert. A Supplementary Declaration is included on the insert and must be signed by a supervising driver for the insert to be recognised under this new scheme.

Lessons conducted at night (between sunset and sunrise) count for only one hour of night driving towards the required 20 hours, with two hours to be added to day driving hours in the log book.

When a learner driver has recorded 10 hours of lessons, on the Structured lesson record keeper, then the driving instructor resumes entering the lesson hours into the Learner driver log book

Read More Changes to the Graduated Licensing Scheme for learner drivers>

To better balance the safety of all road users with the independence and mobility of older drivers, changes to the licensing system are in effect from 1 December 2008. The main changes are outlined below.

If you’re an older driver, the main changes that will affect you are:

Annual medical check-ups now start from the age of 75, instead of 80. Eight weeks before your birthday each year, you’ll receive a medical report form for your doctor to complete, which you’ll need to return to any RTA motor registry.

Practical driving assessments for drivers from the age of 85 will now be every two years (age 85, 87, 89 etc) instead of every year.

Drivers now have the option of taking a driving assessment from home. Assessments can now be conducted in many areas of NSW by driving instructors accredited by the RTA, on a ‘fee for service’ basis. This gives you the option to take an assessment from your home rather than from an RTA motor registry. However, you still have the option of taking the driving assessment from the RTA at no charge.

Drivers have the option of a modified licence and will not be required to take an assessment. If you’re still a competent driver but no longer feel comfortable driving in certain situations (for example, driving over long distances), talk to your local RTA motor registry. The manager may issue you with a modified licence based on your individual driving needs. A practical assessment is not required for a modified licence.

Nearly 85? Look out for your copy of ‘A guide to older driver licensing’

This guide contains more detailed information on the new licensing system, including what to expect when you’re tested.

You can expect to receive your first copy in the mail just prior to your 85th birthday. Alternatively, you can download a copy from the box at the bottom of this page or pick one up at your local RTA registry.

Prefer to speak with someone?

If you’d like to speak to someone about the new system, including information on accredited assessors, call the RTA Older Driver Hotline on 1300 663 628.

A guide for older drivers

This guide aims to give older drivers information about how to determine whether they are driving safely, how to continue to drive safely and when to hand their licences in to the RTA.

Read More Changes to older driver licensing>

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