Centre for Road Safety

  1. What are school zone flashing lights?
  2. How do school zone flashing lights improve safety?
  3. Which NSW schools have school zone flashing lights?
  4. Where are school zone flashing lights installed?
  5. Why do some schools have more than one set of school zone flashing lights?
  6. How are children protected on school zone roads that do not have flashing lights?
  7. Why are school zone flashing lights installed on low speed roads?
  8. My school is in a remote area and has little traffic. Are school zone flashing lights required?
  9. Why do school zone flashing lights operate on pupil free days?
  10. Are there other programs to improve road safety around schools?

1. What are school zone flashing lights?

School zone flashing lights alert motorists to slow down when they approach a 40 km/h school zone.

All NSW school zone flashing lights signs have safety features, including flashing wig-wag lights and advanced technology for maintenance and remote adjustment.

2. How do school zone flashing lights improve safety?

School zone flashing lights alert drivers that they are entering a 40 km/h school zone and that they must slow down. Travelling at 40 km/h reduces the risk of a crash and the severity of a crash if it occurs.

Our research shows that school zone flashing lights help reduce vehicle speeds outside schools during the 40 km/h school zone times. School zone flashing lights improve the road safety benefits of 40 km/h school zones, which have reduced school age pedestrian injuries and deaths.

3. Which NSW schools have school zone flashing lights?

All schools in NSW have at least one set of school zone flashing lights. Additional sets of school zone flashing lights will be installed at more than 500 schools that have multiple busy entrances. Roads and Maritime will notify eligible schools when school zone flashing lights are to be installed.

4. Where are school zone flashing lights installed?

School zone flashing lights have been retrofitted onto existing school zone signs, covering the main school entry point within the school zone. Roads and Maritime works with schools to ensure that school zone flashing lights are installed where their road safety benefits are maximised.

5. Why do some schools have more than one set of school zone flashing lights?

Schools within high risk school zones may have more than one set of school zone flashing lights. Roads and Maritime uses a risk model to consider factors such as the speed limit, vehicle and pedestrian volumes, lane numbers, sight distance and the type of pedestrian facilities at the school.

Now that all schools in NSW have at least one set of school zone flashing lights, additional sets of lights will be installed at more than 500 schools that have multiple busy entrances, using the risk model to prioritise installations.

6. How are children protected on school zone roads that do not have flashing lights?

School zone flashing lights are one of many measures to improve the safety of children around school zones. Other road safety measures at schools include school zone 40km/h signs, ‘dragon’s teeth’ and painted ‘40’ road markings, which all help improve school zone visibility for drivers.

There are also certain driving and parking offences that carry an additional demerit point if committed in an operating school zone. The Roads and Maritime website has more information on demerit point offences.

Other safety measures include pedestrian crossings, pedestrian fencing, pedestrian footbridges and pedestrian refuges, which provide extra protection for children.

Road safety measures can also depend on the school zone road environment and are installed on a case-by-case basis. Roads and Maritime works closely with school communities to ensure that school zones are clearly visible to motorists and to reduce  risks to students travelling to and from school.

7. Why are school zone flashing lights installed on low speed roads?

About two-thirds of all NSW schools are on 50 km/h local roads. The government’s commitment to install school zone flashing lights outside all schools resulted in more sets on local roads than on high speed roads.

8. My school is in a remote area and has little traffic. Are school zone flashing lights required?

The government's program extends the benefits of school zone flashing lights to all schools in NSW. School zone flashing lights warn drivers when they enter a 40 km/h school zone. Slower moving vehicles reduce the risk and severity of crashes.

Our research shows that school zone flashing lights reduce vehicle speeds outside schools during 40 km/h school speed zones.

9. Why do school zone flashing lights operate on pupil free days?

School zone flashing lights are programmed to operate during school zone hours on publicly notified NSW school days. With school development days (also known as student-free days) held during notified school days, government schools must accept students on these days. The Department of Education advises that school development days may also differ between schools.

There are many roads where school zones are shared by government and non-government schools. Term dates may differ, as non-government schools may operate outside notified school dates.
By consistently operating school zone flashing lights on notified school days and times across the state there is less confusion for motorists, who are then more likely to comply with the speed limits.

School term information is also available on the Department of Education website. School term information is also advertised in the press and on radio.

10. Are there other programs to improve road safety around schools?

Yes. Drop off and pick up areas provide parents and carers with a safe place to legally drop off or pick up their children within a two-minute timeframe.

School crossing supervisors help students to use the pedestrian crossing on roads adjacent to or nearby some schools.

The Centre for Road Safety has also developed school road safety resources, such as the Keeping our kids safe around schools guide (PDF, 532Kb) for parents and carers, and the Safety Town website for primary students.

Back to top