ACT News

More than 500 Canberrans caught speeding in February, half in school zones

Police have urged Canberrans to show more care while driving through school zones after more than 500 people were caught speeding in February.

ACT Policing's traffic operations acting superintendent, Susan Ball, said more than 260 drivers had been caught speeding in school zones last month "showing blatant disregard for children's safety".

"The 40km/h school zones are important because they gives motorists more time to stop around children," she said.

"Speeding reduces your ability to control the vehicle, shortens your reaction time and lengthens the stopping distances."

Acting Superintendent Ball said there was no excuse for speeding in a school zone and drivers had no reason to be confused about the speed limits.

"There has been a large amount of publicity about when schools returned; there is signage on both ends of each school zone, and there are large amounts of children in the area, so it is very obvious," she said.

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Police issued 301 speeding fines in February and another 203 people were issued with an official warning. They focused on school zones during the month.

Acting Superintendent Ball said four of the drivers caught speeding were travelling at more than 45km/h above the speed limit.

"One 18-year-old man from Amaroo was caught doing 165km/h in an 80km/h zone in Harrison at 9.20am on February 10," she said.

"He received a fine of $1800 and six demerit points.

"When you put your hands on the wheel and your foot on the accelerator, you make the decision to speed or not.

"Last month, 500 drivers made the wrong choice and they were caught."

Police said the main excuses for speeding were not being aware of the speed limit, running late, talking on the phone, or believing there was a 10 per cent leeway in speeds.

Police will continue to focus on those speeding in school zones and those not wearing seatbelts in March. 

Sergeant Steven Booth said 540 infringement notices had been issued in 2014 to drivers and passengers not wearing their seatbelts

"This is a reduction on the previous year but means that there are some people in the community who are still not listening to the basic message that seatbelts save lives," he said.

"People who are involved in an accident and not wearing seatbelts are significantly more likely to be seriously injured or killed.

"Seatbelts are a proven safety feature; there is no excuse for not wearing one."

Sergeant Booth said officers continued to find children in vehicles travelling without seatbelts and the responsibility was ultimately with the driver.

"The driver of a vehicle is responsible for all people in the vehicle, especially children," he said.

"Children are not able to properly understand and properly restrain themselves in a vehicle.

"You wouldn't let your friend drink and drive, so don't let them sit in your vehicle without a seatbelt."

Drivers caught without a seatbelt in the ACT face a fine of $374 and the loss of three demerit points and a further $350 fine for each additional person without a seatbelt.