330 motorists fined in ACT school zones as debate hots up on times

Glynis Quinlan 21 February 2019 59
ACT Policing said that motorists used a variety of excuses for speeding in school zones including being late.

ACT Policing said that motorists used a variety of excuses for speeding in school zones including being late. File photos.

More than 330 motorists have been fined for speeding in ACT school zones during the first two weeks of school for 2019 as debate hots up about whether the zones should be confined to peak periods as they are in NSW.

A total of 337 motorists were caught speeding in 40 km/h school zones by either the police or mobile speed vans between February 4 and 15 this year with one motorist clocked doing nearly double the speed limit (77 km/h) outside St Vincent’s Primary School in Aranda.

The three main zones where mobile vans detected motorists speeding were near Canberra Boys Grammar in Mugga Way (48 fines issued), near Canberra College in Launceston Street (33 fines) and near Radford College in College Street (32 fines).

ACT Policing said that motorists used a variety of excuses for speeding in school zones including being late, not knowing it was a school zone and saying that ‘the school zones where I’m from don’t go for the whole day’.

In the ACT 40 km/h school zones are in place from 8 am to 4 pm while in NSW most school zones operate from 8 am to 9:30 am and from 2:30 pm to 4 pm.

ACT Opposition education spokesperson Elizabeth Lee has previously flagged the need for community discussion about whether to bring the ACT into line with NSW on school zone times.

ACT Opposition education spokesperson Elizabeth Lee would like there to be community discussion on ACT school zone times.

Earlier this month, while announcing a Canberra Liberals’ push for all hazardous school crossings in the ACT to have flashing lights and supervisors, Ms Lee also invited feedback from the community on school zone times.

“We’ve been getting some great feedback about these time zones. We would really welcome more people getting engaged and telling us how they feel,” Ms Lee said.

“We’ve had some feedback from parents, especially those who do a lot of work or live across the border saying that it is consistent and so that would be good.”

However, ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said the ACT’s 40km/h school zones have been in place since the 1980s and he was not looking at changing the times.

ACT Road Safety Minister Shane Rattenbury said the school zones have been in place since the 1980s and kids come and go at different times.

“They’ve always been an all-day affair and with kids coming and going at different times I think that’s increasing in the modern world,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“I’d be very reluctant to take the 40 km/h zone away in those middle hours. There are kids moving about. I just can’t imagine why you would increase the risk.”

The number of motorists fined for speeding in ACT school zones this year was less than half the number fined in the same time period last year according to ACT Government figures, but Mr Rattenbury said this was because there was a “significant blitz” on the issue last year.

“The fact that normal enforcement turns up more than 300 infringements in two weeks is frustrating,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Speeding through a school zone does put our children at risk. They are not paying attention to the roads too often. They should be but they don’t – they’re busy doing other things.

“The adults who are driving the cars need to take that extra bit of responsibility to keep an eye out for our kids on the roads.

“If someone is struck at 50 km/h their chances of dying are exponentially higher than if they’re struck with a car at 40 km/h.”

An ACT Government spokesperson said that while the highest level of pedestrian activity occurs during drop off and pick up times, children may be near the school zone at lunchtime, for excursions or for many other reasons such as arriving late at school after attending an appointment.

“The continuous operation of school zones speed limits throughout the school day minimises confusion for drivers and provides better safety for children attending school,” the spokesperson said.

Do you think 40 km/h school zones should be in force all day or just during peak school periods? Let us know in the comments below.

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59 Responses to 330 motorists fined in ACT school zones as debate hots up on times
whoaman whoaman 11:43 pm 22 Feb 19

Change it. Why would there be kids outside when it’s classtime? Lunch and recess don’t go for that long either. Kids aren’t blatantly stupid either to go and play on the road. Most schools also have fences now. The speed zone times are really unreasonable.

Tim Thornley Tim Thornley 10:42 pm 22 Feb 19

In line with NSW would be good.

    John Hamers John Hamers 6:48 am 23 Feb 19

    Tim Thornley why would anything be uniform across Australia. That’s too hard lol

Robert Honeybone Snr Robert Honeybone Snr 7:50 pm 22 Feb 19

Leave them as they are

Andrew Jack Andrew Jack 7:01 pm 22 Feb 19

How many of those caught were parents dropping their kids at school..

Chris Hart Chris Hart 4:17 pm 22 Feb 19

Why change it? Maybe just slow down for that hundred meters lol.

Lesley Jane Lesley Jane 12:44 pm 22 Feb 19

I live in a school zone. There’s a preschool and kindy attached. Children are coming and going all day. Keep the school zones in place.

Harley Price Harley Price 12:32 pm 22 Feb 19

Should be consistant with NSW. It is easy to be trapped if you are a NSW driver driving in the ACT.

    Glenn Beaumaris Glenn Beaumaris 1:02 pm 22 Feb 19

    Harley if you can't read the signs, then maybe you shouldn't be driving.

    Val Bedford Val Bedford 4:00 pm 06 Sep 19

    Or a West Australian with flashing orange lighting high above cars clearly for one purpose - keeping kids safe. Not so for Canberra kids - signs modest, small, pale green often hidden by vehicles in other lanes. Far from ideal for interstate visitors not to mention kids at risk. Supposedly the leading part of Australia; other states lead in this regard clearly.

Heather Gordon Heather Gordon 12:02 pm 22 Feb 19

Keep them as they are, in NSW and Vic people arrive at school zones check time then break suddenly if necessary.

Grant Tobias Grant Tobias 12:01 pm 22 Feb 19

When I was a kid, our school faced a 100kmph zone. We all survived.

    Greg Garth Greg Garth 12:25 pm 22 Feb 19

    Grant Tobias when you were a kid there were only 2 cars a day.

    John Dale John Dale 2:13 pm 22 Feb 19

    I’m guessing not ‘all’ survived, at ‘all’ schools. Hence the 40km/hr limit.

Jacinta Gould Jacinta Gould 11:47 am 22 Feb 19

And yet just last week I saw a police car speed through the school zone and continue speeding through the 60 zone (where the smiley face sign did not smile as he was going too fast). No lights or sirens so why the rush?

    Nada Krstin Nada Krstin 10:53 pm 25 Feb 19

    Really Jacinta, so you had a speed camera recording the police car's speed??

    Clearly the police had a reason.

    I don't get the nitpick with Police. I would be sure you'd be happy if they got to your place ASAP if you had a problem...

    Let's focus on the folks that don't need to be speeding in school zones...

Deb Liz Deb Liz 11:40 am 22 Feb 19

NSW should change to what ACT has. Children have been hit by cars outside the 'peak times'.

Reece MacNaught Reece MacNaught 11:09 am 22 Feb 19

The act rules are great, it is simple, leave it as is. Other states change depending on the school and you need to constantly read each zone sign rather then just knowing it is 8-4.

bikhet bikhet 10:59 am 22 Feb 19

Interesting that two of the three “main zones where mobile vans detected motorists speeding” are independent schools. Was this because that’s where the vans spent the most time, that;s where the most motorists are, those areas have the highest proportation of people speeding, or what?

I’d like to see one rule across Australia, but think the ACT idea is better than that in NSW – who knows what the damn time is! And whether it’s a school day or not.

    tim_c tim_c 11:04 am 26 Feb 19

    There are no surprises there, and it’s nothing to do with the schools being independent – take a drive past any of those schools and you’ll know… Radford is the best example – I’d suggest people speeding there in the middle of the day are actually driving to the conditions: the road is 2-3 lanes in each direction, and the school is not even within sight of the road! 40km/h on College St in the middle of the day feels like you could walk faster. Launceston St is not dissimilar, except that you can actually see the school from the road, if you look between the bars of the unclimbable fence. Mugga Way (Grammar School) on the other hand is a very busy road, with a constant procession of either tradies or people intent on demonstrating that buying a more expensive car doesn’t automatically make you a better driver.

Greg Batten Greg Batten 10:58 am 22 Feb 19

Limit as you choose, but ANY changeable limits should be required by Law to have “active” signage.

Rob Thomas Rob Thomas 10:49 am 22 Feb 19

That is lit Photoshop

Joanne Clark Joanne Clark 10:48 am 22 Feb 19

Should be consistent in all Australian states.... one rule. And yes I think it should be during peak school times only.

Guy Noble Guy Noble 10:35 am 22 Feb 19

If you cant slow down 10 ks for a whole 500 metres you shouldnt be on the road

Nick Stone Nick Stone 10:31 am 22 Feb 19

Let's see how many comments are posted about "it's just revenue raising!"

    Jason Presti Jason Presti 2:43 pm 22 Feb 19

    Nick Stone they are only there for the first week back to school to catch ppl who aren't aware..... but it's not revenue raising.

    Jason Presti Jason Presti 2:45 pm 22 Feb 19

    If they really cared for our safety the police would consistantly be around school zones..... but they aren't... I wont tell you why... I'm sure you can figure that 1 out yourself

    Nick Stone Nick Stone 3:25 pm 22 Feb 19

    Craig Nash

    First! 🤣

    Nick Stone Nick Stone 3:27 pm 22 Feb 19

    Jason Presti

    I've seen them heaps around schools, throughout the terms. But remember, it's only revenue raising when you get caught out!

Melissa Helmers Melissa Helmers 10:27 am 22 Feb 19

Keep it as it is.

Rollersk8r Rollersk8r 9:50 am 22 Feb 19

Would like to see it brought in line with NSW. No idea what Rattenbury is talking about with kids coming and going at different times.

Personally I don’t think College Street should be a school zone at all. It’s a long, straight hill with barely a schoolkid in sight. All Radford kids are dropped at the front door in mummy’s big SUV anyway.

    JC JC 3:41 pm 22 Feb 19

    Agree about college street especially as the changes to access to the school. There are plenty of examples of where there are 80km/h roads closer to schools than Redford is to College Street.

    Ones that come to mind are Birgman and the catholic high school near Casey both of which are in 80 zones next to Gungahlin Drive. (Though there is a 60 section for the gold creek retirement village access).

    Plus Amaroo and Margaret Hendry School share a border with Horse Park Drive but are in 80 zones. And yes Amaroo is currently lower due to the road works.

    In all 4 cases I would support a 60km/h school zone which is what NSW often does when a school zone is in an otherwise 80 zone.

    whoaman whoaman 11:46 pm 22 Feb 19

    Probably talking about the kids that choose on their own accord that education isn’t important.

    Canberra college also shouldn’t be a schoolzone. They’re young adults afterall.

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