Fleets forced to lower speeds in Sydney CBD

Fleet services operating in an area of Sydney's CBD will need to adhere to new speed restrictions after the Roads and Freight Minster announced a new zone.

The new 40km/h speed zone, to be introduced by the end of the year, will operate on the Hay, Kent, Pitt and Castlereagh streets and will connect to the existing zone in The Rocks.

This comes as a response to the three pedestrian deaths on CBD roads in the past five months. Between 2008 and 2014, there were just seven pedestrians killed, which indicates that something needed to be done.

Minister Duncan Gay said that the new speed zone is hoped to improve both pedestrian and motorist safety.

"The CBD carries an incredibly high volume of traffic on both its roads and footpaths, so it's important that all road users work together to reduce the high number of crashes and injuries," he said.

"We know that speed is a critical factor for the safety of pedestrians. A vehicle that hits a pedestrian at 50km/h is twice as likely to cause a fatality as the same vehicle travelling 10km/h slower."

Mr Gay said that fleet services would notice new signage, pavement markings and communications campaign to promote the introduction of the new speed limit in the area.

The decision follows consultation between the Centre for Road Safety and consultation with Roads and Maritime Services and the City of Sydney Council, which has already resulted in 13 other Sydney CBD areas and suburbs adopting a lower speed limit.

Mr Gay explained that a fleet vehicle travelling at 40km/h has a greater opportunity to avoid a crash and any subsequent impact will be less severe.

Alongside speed reductions, fleet managers should ensure that their vehicles are always operating at their safest. This can be done by investing in fleet management software that can track servicing and maintenance needs to make sure driver safety is always paramount.