ACT News

Mobile speed cameras set to launch in Canberra school zones

Mobile speed cameras will be deployed outside nine Canberra schools from Monday, as upgraded technology allows speed monitoring in school zones for the first time. 

ACT Justice Minister Shane Rattenbury​ said speed and traffic volume surveys were conducted outside the schools around Canberra and found the need for better targeting of speed reduction efforts outside schools. 

The nine sites are: Lyneham Primary, St Mary MacKillop College Isabella campus, Canberra Girls Grammar, Burgmann Anglican Gungahlin campus, Forrest Primary, Palmerston Primary, Aranda Primary, Calwell High and North Ainslie Primary. 

The moves follow a damning auditor-general's report into Canberra's speed camera regime in March 2014 and system-wide changes as part of the government's new Road Safety Camera Strategy released in May 2015. The new strategy paved the way for expanded locations where mobile units could be used, including into school zones. 

Mr Rattenbury said the new locations would target areas with a history of complaints and speeding drivers. He will launch the new cameras at Lyneham Primary with Education and Police Minister Joy Burch on Monday. 

"At St Mary MacKillop College, 15 per cent of drivers recorded speeds more than 14km/h over the speed limit at certain times of the day when the school zone speed limit was in force," Mr Rattenbury said. 

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"We also recorded a maximum speed of 144km/h at this location. Similar results were recorded across the other eight schools."

Mr Rattenbury said school-aged children do not have the developmental skills to make the crucial decisions needed for their own safety when crossing roads. School zones in other Australian jurisdictions are monitored with speed cameras already. 

"The fact is – kids are unpredictable. If a child runs onto the road 30 metres ahead of you while you're driving at 50km/h in a school zone, then you won't be able to stop in time.

"Unfortunately we still have a situation where people continue to ignore speed limits and show complete disregard for safety, particularly of children in school zones. 

"We must implement measures to deter and penalise those who continue to break the law and risk the safety and the lives of our children," Mr Rattenbury said.

Ms Burch has asked ACT Policing to make reducing speed in school zones a priority. Drivers were warned in August police would have a high-visibility presence at every school and a particular focus on schools with heavy traffic.

In August, the government announced two Belconnen schools would become the first to trial 30km/h speed zones outside their gates, while "dragon's teeth" road markings would also be trialled.

The government considered adapting the NSW program of installing flashing lights on roads outside schools, but Canberra's suburban streets were not suited to sign changes. Existing signage would be simplified and uncluttered with a message that focused on speed. 

The government increased spending on mobile speed cameras by more than $1.3 million in the year's ACT budget.

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