ORANGE drivers have a complete disregard for children’s lives, according to a school assistant principal and a road safety officer.
When it comes to speeding in school zones Orange drivers do not get the message.
The number of people booked for speeding in a school zone in Orange in the 2012/2013 financial year rose by 177 per cent from the previous year.
Most drivers (224) were caught doing less than 10 kilometres over the 40km/h school zone speed limit, but 42 were caught doing more than 10 kilometres over and three were caught doing more than 20 kilometres over the speed limit.
St Mary’s Primary School assistant principal Kerry Maher said the statistics were startling considering there were only 97 speeding drivers in school zones in 2010/2011.
“It is a shame people have an apparent disregard for what school zones are there for,” she said.
St Mary’s school is on Byng Street, a busy road according to Ms Maher, and people speed past on their way to work without thinking about children’s safety.
“People aren’t mindful how serious an accident can be when children are involved, they’re impulsive and things can happen quickly,” Ms Maher said.
People might not be getting the slow down message but Orange drivers are getting the message about using mobile phones in school zones.
However, three people could not let the call go to voicemail and it proved to be expensive.
The government netted $1191 from drivers using mobile phones in school zones and $54,401 from drivers caught speeding in school zones.
Orange and Cabonne road safety officer Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan said it was outrageous the figure had increased dramatically.
She did, however, say more drivers are likely being caught because the Orange sector highway patrol is now only tasked to deal with traffic problems instead of other police work.
“It means more police on the roads,” she said.
“The police do a fantastic job and NSW school zones are a priority for the police, the RMS and local government areas.”
Mrs Hamilton-Vaughan said people who speed and drive drunk in school zones are “a blight on society”.
“I understand all the arguments that people say like, ‘I am a great driver and I speed and it doesn’t matter’, well that does not work in a school zone, they’re kids,” she said.
“Honestly, they’re children, unpredictable.”