A New South Wales coroner has called for an improvement in the management of traffic lights and in particular, introducing a slight delay in the current synchronisation of traffic lights governing both vehicular passage and safe pedestrian passage. The coroner claims that this will save lives in the state.

Why is this important to New South Wales motorists?

Any initiative that offers better protection to road users, whether they be driving a car or truck, rising a bicycle or simply negotiating the streets as a pedestrian, is worth considering. One immediately considers the benefits to the community at large of one less road death and we should also consider the flow on affects as it relates to the costs of operating a car or truck in this state.

On 2 May 2012, a pedestrian was unfortunately run over and killed by a bus navigating a left hand turn in Beecroft. The pedestrian commenced crossing at the intersection at the exact same time as the bus negotiated the left hand turn. The driver being obstructed by his blind spot proceeded with his left turn unaware of the pedestrian’s presence.

The coroner suggests that a slight delay in vehicular traffic and providing any waiting pedestrian the first opportunity to negotiate a crossing and improve their visibility to other drivers is important.

The state will presumably bulk at the costs of implementing such a suggestion which is estimated at $5m and take three years to implement, but we need to consider the potential benefits as well, and an important one is the cost savings flowing to New South Wales motorists as a result of fewer injuries or death on our roads. The state’s Compulsory Third Party scheme and Lifetime Care scheme offers benefits to injured pedestrians for incidents such as the one mentioned above and these benefits in terms of costs, far outweigh any investment associated with implementing the coroner’s suggestions. Greenslip insurance premiums are used to cover such injured parties and these costs, on an annual basis, would far exceed any costs associated with implementing a suggested improvement to roads in this state. Safer roads leading to a reduction in injured party pay outs, leads to a cheap greenslip purchase for NSW motorists.

It is worth noting that due to differences in portfolio structures among the licenced greenslip insurers in New South Wales, their exposures are commensurately different. For these reasons NSW motorists should compare greenslip prices and ensure they are getting an immediate saving where available.