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by David Zalstein

A New South Wales Government program aimed at installing flashing lights in school zones of 1263 schools has been expanded after a funding boost of $13 million dollars was announced.

NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell, Treasurer Mike Baird and Roads Minister Duncan Gay today announced a funding increase for the School Zone Flashing Lights program from $19.5 million to $32.5 million, with 1500 additional schools planned to get school zone lights by 2015.

According to the NSW Government, there are currently more than 3150 schools in NSW with more than 10,000 school zones.

Premier O’Farrell said the NSW Government was committed to doing whatever it could to protect “our most vulnerable and inexperienced road users”.

“Flashing lights are one of the most effective tools we have to slow down motorists near schools – I’m delighted we’re able to extend this successful program to every school,” he said.

School Zone - 2

Minister Gay said the increase in funding and expansion of the program had been achieved by reducing the cost of each set of school zone lights from $25,000 to $8400.

The Roads Minister said the original-style flashing lights would be installed at 1153 school zones covering 1263 schools by June 30 this year, with the modified, “more cost effective”, lights to be installed at the additional 1500 schools by the end of 2015.

“In addition, any new school will have at least one set of flashing lights, so all schools are covered,” Mr Gay said.

The government says the phase one lights are to be installed at schools on roads which are deemed high risk, while phase two lights will be installed at schools on low speed, local and lower risk roads.

NRMA president Wendy Machin said the NRMA has supported the installation of flashing lights at schools since day one.

“We believe flashing lights go a long way to ensure that motorists are aware that they are travelling in a school zone and need to slow down.”

Machin said trees growing across school zone signs, faded signs and dragon’s teeth and whether upgrades were required for pedestrian crossings were some further issues the NRMA would like the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) to regularly look at.

The former State Labor Government installed flashing lights at 411 school zones in its last term of Government.