Slow down in school zones or pay the price

Shane Rattenbury, MLA

Drivers are on notice for the start of the school year - from next Monday (5 February) it is time to slow down to 40km/h between 8am and 4pm in school zones.

Minister for Road Safety Shane Rattenbury and Acting Chief Police Officer for the ACT Mark Walters together urged Canberrans to help keep children safe by obeying the limit.

ACT Policing officers will be out in force and mobile speed vans will be in operation to monitor compliance.

“School zones are high-risk areas and drivers should expect the unexpected which is why you should obey the limit,” Mr Rattenbury said.

“Children should be able to travel to and from school safely. The speed limit is there to protect everyone, and I encourage drivers to pay attention when in a school zone.

“ACT school zone limits are in force from 8am to 4pm on weekdays, not just during drop off times as in NSW.

“This approach is adopted because it provides greater protection for our kids who walk or ride, or get dropped off, at school.

“There is no excuse for speeding in a school zone, especially when you are driving close to some of our most vulnerable road users, children.

“If a car hits a pedestrian at 50km/h, the pedestrian is twice more likely to be killed than if the car had been travelling at 40km/h an hour.”

Minister Rattenbury said there was a problem in the ACT with casual speeding, with 23% of ACT resident self-reporting that they sometimes drive 10km/h over the speed limit.

“The speed limit is just that – a limit,” Mr Rattenbury said.  “It’s not a default speed or recommended speed.

“We need to drive to road conditions, the road environment and together be a safe team on the road.

“Canberra is a caring community and this should also be the case on our roads, when we care more about the person in the seat next to us or driving on the other side of the road to speed and put their life at risk.”

The ACT adopts a Vision Zero approach to road safety which is based on the highly successful Swedish approach to road safety. It can be summarised in one sentence – no loss of life on our roads is acceptable.

Acting Chief Police Officer Walters said there are tough penalties for those that choose to ignore the speed restrictions.

“Officers will be out in force and focusing on school zones to ensure that those drivers choosing to ignore the road rules will be caught and penalised,” he said.

“The 40km/hr speed limit is critical in school zones because it gives motorists extra time to stop in an unexpected situation, like when a child steps out on the road to cross without looking.”

“Children are one of our most vulnerable road users who are still learning the road rules and awareness of traffic”.

Penalties range from $301 and one demerit point for a driver exceeding the school zone speed limit by 15km/h or less to $2,136 and six demerit points for a driver exceeding the school zone speed limit by more than 45km/h.



Mobile speed van infringements – school sites

ACT Policing infringements - suburb by suburb

1.       Narrabundah College – Jerrabomberra Ave

802  infringements

1.       Bruce

82 infringements

2.       Canberra Grammar – Mugga Way

566  infringements

2.       Franklin

23 infringements

3.       Radford College – College St

509 infringements

3.       Philip

18 infringements

4.       Canberra College – Launceston St

495 infringements

4.       Harrison

       15 infringements

5.       Dickson College – Phillip Ave

317 infringements

5.       Waramanga and Dickson

        12 infringements