Motoring madness: drivers ignore school zone speed limits

WARNING SIREN: Orange Highway Patrol Leading Senior Constable Wes Bush and Richard and Sim Madigan (crossing) are calling on drivers to slow down in school zones to protect children like Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School student Henry Madigan. 
Photo: OLIVIA SARGENT				            0703oscrossing

WARNING SIREN: Orange Highway Patrol Leading Senior Constable Wes Bush and Richard and Sim Madigan (crossing) are calling on drivers to slow down in school zones to protect children like Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School student Henry Madigan. Photo: OLIVIA SARGENT 0703oscrossing

ORANGE drivers continue to put children’s lives at risk by speeding through school zones with speeding offences double  what they were two years ago. 

Most of the tickets for the last financial year were for speeding under 10km/h over the speed limit in school zones.

Office of State Revenue statistics showed, since July last year to April this year there were 190 speeding fines in school zones issued to drivers in Orange, in the same period last year there were 207 but in the 2011/2012 financial year there were 97 drivers caught speeding in school zones. 

About 74 per cent, or 141 drivers were caught doing less than 50km/h in a 40km/h zone. 

Orange Highway Patrol Sergeant Mark Hevers said police were actively targeting school zones and had been for some time, which might explain the large increase in the number of people caught.

He said the reason most fines were in 10km/h and under category was people were simply not paying attention to school zone signs and times. 

“Some school zones still don’t have flashing lights and it’s just a lack of concentration,” he said.

“But then some parents we pull over say ‘oh I didn’t realise it was a school zone’ yet they had four kids in the back in school uniform.”

OUR SAY: WHY LESS THAN 50KM/H CAN STILL BE WAY TOO FAST

Sergeant Hevers said most people were apologetic and the offence was a genuine lack of concentration but there was no excuse for putting the lives of children at risk. 

“Any increase in speed through any zone has the potential to create more serious injury or cause death and that is why school zones are 40 km/h in the first place,” Sergeant Hevers said. 

Catherine McAuley Catholic Primary School parent Sim Madigan said it was disappointing drivers did not slow down in an effort to protect  children.

“It’s not good enough, there is no excuse,” she said. 

“Even at schools where there are no flashing lights there are still signs in the lead up to the school zones and there are markings on the road.”

St Mary’s Catholic Primary School parent Kate Hook said slowing down for 30 seconds would hardly impact travel times.

She said more vigilance was needed from the public. 

Orange drivers contributed $41,012 in fines to the state government between July 2013 and April 2014.

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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