The NSW RMS has released the Top 10 Misunderstood Road Rules. At first glance, not a bad idea. Roundabouts, left turns, merging, headlight use and a few others hit the list. All quite helpful really.
And then we come to school zones.
School zone speed limits apply 8:00am-9:30am, and 2:30pm-4:00pm. Except where they don’t.
There are a small number of schools with different school zone times. Well, that gives me solid intuitions for my driving.
School zones apply on gazetted school days, which include pupil-free days, and even when the school may be closed, as some non-government schools are on gazetted school days.
And too bad if the term gazetted confuses you; after all, public servants know what that means.
And if you, like me, are someone who lacks offspring and isn’t plugged into the school cycle, and don’t know your gazetted school days, well, you can go to http://www.boardofstudies.nsw.edu.au/events/vacations.html before you get into the car, just so you know if the school zone applies or not.
I’m sure I’ll be doing that.
But wait, the word gazetted does not appear on the linked site at all. There are links to other sites with NSW government school term dates and holiday dates. Are these the gazetted dates?
Intriguingly, at the site it is not mentioned if public holidays are gazetted school days. One can presume that they are not. Except for Bank Holiday. The Board of Studies site lists it as a Public Holiday with an asterisk; it is “Not a Statewide Public Holiday”. Will this be a gazetted school day?
This is, I suppose, making the best of a bad situation. But a little bit of customer-focus wouldn’t go astray. Consistency, at least, would be helpful. Clear markers that zones are active without the ridiculously bureaucratic expectation that people check the Board of Studies website should be on the agenda.
But even given the bad situation, someone should have walked through the process and realised that at no point were “gazetted school days” listed as such on the linked site. That government school dates could be confused for them. That it was unclear if Bank Holiday applies to school zones or not.
This, in microcosm, is the failure of public sector service delivery. It isn’t rocket science.
Unless, of course, this inconsistency is all part of a cunning road safety plan to make driving so unintuitive that people are constantly scanning and driving with conscious competence. I doubt that that would be evidence-based policy, but who knows what passes for evidence?