Mike Stevens | Mar 1, 2010

FIGURES RELEASED BY the NSW Audit Office reveal that school zone speed limits are being ignored by many motorists.

Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat said although casualty numbers have dropped, ten out of 12 schools surveyed said that speeding was an ongoing problem.

“Only two out of 12 school zones surveyed saw motorists slow down to the speed limit,” Mr Achterstraat said.

“There has been a marked reduction in casualties around schools over the past ten years for school aged pedestrians. It is estimated that there are only 60 school age casualties each year in school zones. But while this represents a reduction, it is still 60 casualties too many. When it comes to children, safety has to be put first."

Mr Achterstraat said that motorists either don’t know that they are in a school zone or that they think it is okay to speed. With less than one per cent of school zones having speed cameras, there is a concern that motorists are willfully ignoring the posted speed limit.

In his report, Mr Achterstraat said that the RTA NSW needs to increase awareness of school zones, ensuring that signage is clearly visible and free of obstructions and graffiti.

The report adds that school zones should be listed on maps used by GPS systems, and flashing lights should be used in school zones that have non-standard operating times.

Mr Achterstraat said that while only two children have been killed in school zones since 1998, about 60 school-age children are injured each year in school zones.

He said that the NSW Government needs to live up to the promise of former roads minister Eric Roozendaal to begin rotating mobile speed cameras across the state's many school zones that don't have fixed cameras.

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