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

Che_elle 20 April 2016 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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TAD 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 Sands 2:14 pm 03 Jan 09

Lenient by name… only. 🙂

Lenient Lenient 1:56 pm 03 Jan 09

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

Sands 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.

Spitfire3 Spitfire3 9:51 pm 02 Jan 09

steveu said :

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?

I think it could be argued that another aim of using speed cameras is to deter drivers from speeding for a much larger proportion of their time behind the wheel. A headlight flash warning isn’t as blunt a reminder as a hefty fine. And I’m sure we can agree that many of us stupid humans need blunt reminders in order to do what’s right.

VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy VYBerlinaV8_the_one_they_all_copy 9:43 pm 02 Jan 09

I never flash for RBTs, but almost always flash for speed traps.

Che_elle Che_elle 7:08 pm 02 Jan 09

Sammy said :

I think the headline you’ve used is spurious. I thought the police officer on the news item was quite clear that they were really concerned about people flashing to warn of upcoming RBT stations, rather than speed cameras. He did mention that both were illegal, but the RBT issue was the one that they were really concerned about.

Thanks for your comment. I take your point. However, I hope that you saw I did explain the context in the original post about the RBT situation and specifically intended that my focus was on the speeding part of the equation.

As the police also intend to capture motorists where only a speed camera or radar is in use, I disagree with your assessment of the headline as spurious.

fnaah fnaah 4:36 pm 02 Jan 09

There are already coppers everywhere. Wish I had my camera on NYE

… well that’s odd. I spent a goodly portion of my NYE on the roads, we drove from Richardson to Pearce, Pearce to Kambah, then back to Richardson, then to Ainslie, and back to Richardson again (all this between 8pm and 1am) and didn’t see a single police car, RBT, or speed van.

bearlikesbeer bearlikesbeer 3:56 pm 02 Jan 09

steveu said :

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?
RBT’s on the other hand, are a completely different matter I would suggest.

Exactly!

If police are really out to reduce speeding (rather than just catch people), then I reckon they should accept “flashing”. The problem is cops using the RBT scenario (which I’d like to think doesn’t occur too often)as an excuse to target flashers, who cut down on their speeding fine revenue.

Aurelius Aurelius 3:53 pm 02 Jan 09

Given Spideydog’s quote above, it would seem that flashing to warn other drivers of a road hazard is quite kosher. I’ve seen it used for roos on the road, fatal prangs up ahead etc.
I still do it when I driving down the Kings Highway and there’s lots of traffic oncoming, if cops aren’t around.

steveu steveu 3:25 pm 02 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?
RBT’s on the other hand, are a completely different matter I would suggest.
Cheers
Steve

Spideydog Spideydog 1:50 pm 02 Jan 09

I think you will find this is already covered in rule 218 & 219 of the Australian Road Rules:

218 Using headlights on high-beam
(1) The driver of a vehicle must not use the vehicle’s headlights on
high-beam, or allow the vehicle’s headlights to be used on
high-beam, if the driver is driving:
(a) less than 200 metres behind a vehicle travelling in the
same direction as the driver; or
(b) less than 200 metres from an oncoming vehicle.

219 Lights not to be used to dazzle other road users
A driver must not use, or allow to be used, any light fitted to or
in the driver’s vehicle to dazzle, or in a way that is likely to
dazzle, another road user.

Madman Madman 1:13 pm 02 Jan 09

Sammy said :

I think the headline you’ve used is spurious. I thought the police officer on the news item was quite clear that they were really concerned about people flashing to warn of upcoming RBT stations, rather than speed cameras. He did mention that both were illegal, but the RBT issue was the one that they were really concerned about.

Never in the Australian Road Rules have I seen any references to it being illegal to flash your lights to warn oncoming traffic of either RBT or Speed trap….

I would never do it for an RBT – they’re better off the road then driving. But sometimes your driving and you get distracted about the speed your doing so you could be doing 5-10 over, and a little warning to check your speedo is a very nice gesture to me.

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