Slow down in school zones or else: harsher penalties on way

NEW, harsher penalties could soon be enforced throughout Queensland for motorists who choose to ignore speed limits in school zones.

The State Government is looking to implement double demerit points for up to 100 motorists caught speeding in school zones daily.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Scott Emerson said a review of penalties was required.

"More than 50,000 motorists were caught speeding in a school zone between January 2011 to April 2013," he said.

"If the warning lights don't curb speeding, then it's time to increase the penalties."

A spokesperson from Queensland Transport and Main Roads said in 2012 there was a rapid increase in offences in school zones.

"In 2012, there were 24,842 fines issued in school zones - an increase of 44% from 2011," the spokesperson said.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said while the demerit point penalty was a move in the right direction, the issue of enforcing school zones required a multi-layered approach.

"A problem we have right around Australia is that 98% of school zones do not have adequate speed enforcement," he said.

"Politicians need to have a zero tolerance policy to protect the most vulnerable and precious members of our society.

"Unfortunately, politicians don't seem to do much until someone is killed."

The school zone at Star of the Sea Primary School on Goondoon St is one area that has locals concerned in Gladstone.

One crossing supervisor said the 40kmh sign was concealed behind a tree.

"There are no markings on the road, no flashing signs," she said.

"People definitely aren't slowing down because there is just very little indication that it's a school zone at all."

Across Queensland, a total of $11 million has been paid in fines by 50,000 motorists caught speeding in school zones since January 2011.

Fast Facts:

  • 531 Gladstone motorists fined for speeding by more than 13kmh in school zones between 2012-2013
  • The highest number of pedestrian fatalities occur between 2pm-4pm