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NSW introducing fines for drivers flashing lights to warn speeding motorists.

Che_elle 2 January 2009 49

I was concerned to see a clip on the local news recently that NSW police intend to fine motorists using the “flashing of headlights” to warn other motorists of the presence of a speed camera or Random Breath Testing (RBT) van. Perhaps I am naïve, but I have not been privy to seeing the headlights used to warn of RBT’s, so this was new for me.

The police argue that flashing headlights potentially warns “drunk drivers” to veer off their current path to avoid the RBT. Perhaps this might be true. This post is intended only to deal with the speeding aspect of the proposed or new NSW law.

I do not condone speeding, I want to be clear about that. Perhaps because people have wised up to the fixed speed camera locations, the revenue base has dropped so the government need to find a new target in order to meet cash flow for future spending proposals.

Flashing headlights by motorists has the effect of slowing traffic when a speed trap/radar is present.

But blatant revenue raising without serious efforts to combat the danger are not helpful. With the introduction of fixed speed camera in the ACT I have noticed a marked drop in the presence of mobile speed units deployed on our roads and even less use of radars than we previously saw. I also find the introduction of this in the holiday period somewhat offensive, although I do note that the holiday period is the greatest danger period on our roads.

My point is this, perhaps the practice of flashing headlights is one effective way of reducing speeding on our roads. Sure the government gets no money for the penance of these drivers, but if these cameras are really here for our safety, and not revenue what is the harm of drivers doing their bit to minimizing speeding as well. But in order for flashing of headlights to be necessary there has to be a police presence on our roads not just a private contractor who has a quota of fines to issue each day.

If a person is determined to speed, they will slow appropriately for the fixed camera or the radar and once a safe distance beyond it increase back to their chosen speed. A greater presence on our roads of traffic police means that people will be more likely to drive slower. Fining other motorists for trying to obtain the same objective is nonsense.

I am interested in the views of other Canberrans and NSW residents on this. I personally hope that it is not an idea that the ACT government endorses.


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49 Responses to
NSW introducing fines for drivers flashing lights to warn speeding motorists.
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Gerry-Built 11:44 pm 03 Jan 09

ant @ #48 – hmmmmmm true that…

ant 11:18 pm 03 Jan 09

The thing is, when you flash someone, they don’t know what’s up ahead, they just know that something is up ahead. All the sanctimony about RBTs versus revenue raising aside, I cannot imagine many people turning around when seeing a flash, just in case it’s a RBT.

Spideydog 11:00 pm 03 Jan 09

@ post 46. You are actually allowed to do that in Oz.

Lenient 10:17 pm 03 Jan 09

In europe people flash before overtaking. Of course, this would be silly in canberra where indicating is optional.

Gerry-Built 7:20 pm 03 Jan 09

Flashing someone to warn them of impending speed traps/RBT is plain stupid. If someone does the crime, let them cop the damned fine. I’m all for the proposed fines. I seem to recall a huge reaction on RA against the woman who hid evidence from the Charnwood Murder – seems to me that flashing headlights is for the crime of speeding/drink driving, what that woman did for the crime of murder (& I am clearly not comparing speeding/drink driving to murder). Let them get caught!

I am, however, all for flashing headlights to warn of accidents, animals or other hazards ahead – just plain courtesy.

ChrisinTurner 6:41 pm 03 Jan 09

I always flash my lights at oncoming speeding vehicles, unless there is a speed camera or police trap waiting to get them. The speed cameras are not there to just to slow people down but to get these drivers off the road, by accumulating demerit points or by license suspension.

Thumper 6:13 pm 03 Jan 09

Agreed, I’ll flash on open roads, but not in school zones or residential areas.

poptop 5:36 pm 03 Jan 09

TAD, knowing that a friendly headlight flash may come from an unmarked police vehicle has made my day.

Kim F 5:35 pm 03 Jan 09

I will flash for speed camera’s in what I consider revenue raising spots. I never flash for speed camera’s in residential areas nor school zones.

TAD 4:41 pm 03 Jan 09

Are we also going to fine the radio stations for giving their “Kodak Moment” warnings about moile speed cameras?

What a crock. I always flash the oncoming drivers to warn them about the mobile speed vans. (Maybe even once or twice while driving an unmarked police vehicle).

Sands 2:14 pm 03 Jan 09

Lenient by name… only. 🙂

Lenient 1:56 pm 03 Jan 09

I get a warm feeling passing a speed camera and not flashing to oncoming speeding traffic

Sands 1:04 pm 03 Jan 09

Putting aside all the rational arguments for not doing it, I get a warm feeling of mateship every time I get warned. Or when I warn someone and get a wave back. Sort of an ‘us against them’ feeling.

Spideydog 12:29 pm 03 Jan 09

I had a guy flash me the other day…… Kinda wish he had of used headlights though … ;-p

Clown Killer 12:22 pm 03 Jan 09

Interestingly, I know a driver who got caught flashing his headlights to warn oncoming traffic of cops doing Laser. When asked why he did it by the cop, he completely denied flashing the headlights. The cop then said: “Oh, looks like you have a problem with your headlights then” and defected his car.

I love these little urban myths/lies/bullsh!t … if the head lights work as they’re supposed to then a defect notice couldn’t be issued. If the driver wants to dispute the cops alledged version of events it’s up to the cop to put up or shut up, end of story.

Lenient 10:50 am 03 Jan 09

I always thought the the aim of speed cameras is to slow drivers down. If by someone flashing thier lights to the opposing traffic slows people down, then surely the aim has been achieved?
We need to make drivers slow down to the speed limit all the time, rather than just when a speed camera is nearby. Fines are better for a longer term result than a flash of the headlights (which results in a one off temporary reduction in speed).

Thumper 10:17 am 03 Jan 09

I had a guy in Charnwood flash me the other day.

There was a large bluetongue lizard going for a wander across the road.

kind of put a smile on my face and made my day

ant 9:37 am 03 Jan 09

A flash of the headlights means slow down, there’s something ahead. It might be cops, it might be some kind of contremps, a breakdown in a bad spot, stopped traffic on a high-speed section, or even an RBT. The oncoming cars don’t know what the problem up ahead is, all they know is there’s something to be careful about, and to proceed with caution.

deye 2:58 am 03 Jan 09

Spitfire3 said :

And I’m sure we can agree that many of us stupid humans need blunt reminders in order to do what’s right.

What’s right is such an interesting concept.

Ozi said :

A fine and demerit points WILL, however, change behaviour, either through voluntary speed reduction by the driver over the long term following the fine, or through mandatory loss of licence following multiple fines and the associated demerit points.

Not necessarily.

Ozi 2:19 am 03 Jan 09

Spitfire: that is a good point, and I know that avoiding a speed camera/cop due to head light flashing gives you a “oh phew, lucky escape!” feeling, but in reality does not overly change behaviour.

A fine and demerit points WILL, however, change behaviour, either through voluntary speed reduction by the driver over the long term following the fine, or through mandatory loss of licence following multiple fines and the associated demerit points.

And people who flash headlights for RBT’s deserve to be shot.

Interestingly, I know a driver who got caught flashing his headlights to warn oncoming traffic of cops doing Laser. When asked why he did it by the cop, he completely denied flashing the headlights. The cop then said: “Oh, looks like you have a problem with your headlights then” and defected his car.

Made me laugh…

~Ozi.

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