App keeps eye on speed limits

A KIAMA resident who helped develop a new road safety smartphone app says it has "stunning potential" to reduce crashes.

John Wall is manager of road safety technology at Transport for NSW, with 20 years' experience as a road safety professional.

Mr Wall is also deputy controller of the Kiama Unit of the SES.

"For the past 30 years in SES, I've been involved in picking up the pieces from road trauma," he said. "For the past two decades, I've been involved in trying to prevent the pieces falling on the road in the first place."

Last week officially marked the trial launch of a new smartphone app, which alerts motorists when they are about to enter a school zone.

The 'Speed Adviser' app will tell motorists via an audio warning that they are entering a school zone.

The app also alerts drivers when a speed limit changes and warns drivers if they exceed the speed limit.

An Illawarra-based team conducted the research into the app's development.

Mr Wall said the initial research dated back to 2009, while the app had been in the works for the past two years.

He said research had been initiated into Intelligent Speed Adaptation, a technology enabling functions such as warning the driver they were driving over the speed limit.

The ISA device was initially valued at a cost of about $1500.

During the research process, the dedicated device was installed into 120 private vehicles in the Illawarra.

"We found we could reduce the amount of time people spent speeding by 89 per cent," he said.

"We asked the University of Adelaide to independently model those results.

"They said we could reduce the road toll across Australia by 19 per cent using the ISA system.

"The big challenge was whether people were going to go and buy a $1500 device to stop them speeding.

"The answer was a resounding no."

However, the evolution and popularity of smartphones presented other alternatives to provide this technology to the public.

"We know it's very effective in reducing the risk of a serious crash," Mr Wall said.

"That I can have a role in stopping it happening in the first place and how this can prevent real crashes… 19 per cent is a stunning potential."

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