SCHOOL ZONE HOONS PUT OUR KIDS’ LIVES AT RISK ON ROAD TO DIS­AS­TER

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - News - MATTHEW BENNS

ID­I­OTIC mo­torists are hurtling through school zones at more than 20km/h over the speed limit, put­ting chil­dren’s lives at risk.

A spe­cial Satur­day Tele­graph in­ves­ti­ga­tion can to­day re­veal that just a tiny pro­por­tion of 40km/h zones out­side schools across NSW have fixed speed cam­eras, and that an au­di­tor-gen­eral’s rec­om­men­da­tion that mo­bile cam­eras be in­stalled has lan­guished for nearly a decade.

Checks at schools across Syd­ney this week showed the flash­ing lights, flu­o­res­cent signs and “dragon’s teeth” road mark­ings meant to make school zones safe are fail­ing to de­ter dan­ger­ous driv­ers. Tests us­ing a hand­held speed gun clocked scores of mo­torists ca­reer­ing through in the morn­ing and af­ter­noon.

At Padding­ton Pub­lic School on Ox­ford St, 35 mo­torists were clocked break­ing the 40km/h speed limit at speeds of up to 58km/h be­tween 2.30pm and 4pm. Ash­ley Dou­glas, whose daugh­ter Lucy, 8, at­tends the school said: “It’s so dan­ger­ous with cars fly­ing past and kids can just eas­ily wan­der out onto the road.”

On Frenchs For­est Rd, near Seaforth Pub­lic School, at the peak af­ter­noon pick-up time of 3.15pm a semi-trailer sped down the hill at 48km/h, an Audi roared around the cor­ner at 53km/h and three more cars were clocked in ex­cess of 40km/h.

Ebenezer mother-of-two Rochelle Miller has pe­ti­tioned au­thor­i­ties for speed cam­eras out­side the lo­cal school: “It just gets passed from one au­thor­ity to the other. We don’t un­der­stand why they don’t want to pro­tect the chil­dren.”

Since 2015, 17 kids have been se­ri­ously in­jured in school zones — in­clud­ing two in the first three months of this year. De­spite this, fixed speed and red-light cam­eras are lo­cated in only 50 of the state’s more than 3000 school zones. Those cam­eras last year recorded more than 105,000 speed­ing of­fences and col­lected just over $28 mil­lion in fines.

The NSW Au­dit Of­fice last month is­sued a re­port say­ing “speed sur­veys in­di­cate fewer than 50 per cent of driv­ers com­ply with the 40km/h speed limit in school zones”.

But Cen­tre for Road Safety ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Bernard Carlon said it was not pos­si­ble to use mo­bile speed cam­eras as a de­ter­rent in school zones.

“The oper­a­tion of mo­bile speed cam­eras in school zones can be prob­lem­atic due to con­ges­tion where chil­dren are be­ing dropped off or picked up and pedes­trian traf­fic,” he said.

Ash­ley Dou­glas with daugh­ter Lucy, 8, on their way to Padding­ton Pub­lic. Pic­ture: Toby Zerna

A car speed­ing out­side West­mead Pub­lic School on Thurs­day.

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