Double trouble in school zones: Stiffer penalties for parking offences

SCHOOL ZONE: Michael Nightingale, Patrick Nightingale and Jeanette Nicholls crossing the road in a school zone near Orange Public School. Photo: MAX STAINKAMPH
SCHOOL ZONE: Michael Nightingale, Patrick Nightingale and Jeanette Nicholls crossing the road in a school zone near Orange Public School. Photo: MAX STAINKAMPH

MOTORISTS in Orange are a chance of being hit by even bigger fines and more demerit points for offences in school zones in 2018.

Seven parking-based offences will have harsher punishments when being committed in a school zone, with fines increasing by up to 200 per cent under reforms introduced by Roads Minister Melinda Pavey last week.

Queuing across an intersection in a school zone – which includes roundabouts – will now incur a whopping $439 fine, as well as two demerit points. 

As well as stopping in an intersection, there are three other offences that come with a $439 fine: Stopping within 20 metres of an intersection with traffic lights, within 10 metres of one without lights, or stopping near bicycle lights.

The biggest change is for stopping over a pedestrian crossing or otherwise obstructing access to a ramp, path or passageway. That normally comes with a $110 fine but in a school zone it will sting motorists $330

Not parking your car in the direction of travel or parking too close to the road’s dividing line will also see drivers looking for $330. Committed outside a school zone, they’re worth $183 and $257 respectively – and neither will cost a single demerit point.

While none of the seven offences attract demerit points when committed elsewhere on the road, in a school zone they each come with two points.

Orange City Council’s road safety officer Andrea Hamilton-Vaughan said restrictions in school zones were a deliberate ploy to encourage people to avoid them if possible. 

She said the larger fines for queuing across an intersection would be the most significant one for Orange, as motorists often queue across roundabouts during school times.

“As Orange grows of course there’ll be more traffic in these zones, as most schools are in built-up areas,” Mrs Hamilton-Vaughan said. 

“I think once people get stung they’re not too likely to do it again.”

Mrs Hamilton-Vaughan said she recommended avoiding school zones if possible, and dropping students – especially older ones – a block or so from school was a solution to avoid infringements. 

However, she said parents and carers should endeavour to drop students so they don’t have to cross a road. 

Ms Pavey said the reforms came after consultation with “a number of organisations to review parking penalties”.

Comments