Sun-Herald - Sunday 29 April, 2007

Schools lay down law on pupil pick-up

By Hannah Edwards

Bondi Junction teacher Nicole Jones.

Bondi Junction teacher Nicole Jones.
Photo: Jacky Ghossein

TOUGH new rules will come into effect next month as part of a crackdown on motorists who flout the law in school zones.

Penalty points and increased fines are part of the comprehensive package to be introduced on May 21.

From then, motorists caught double parking in school zones will get two demerit points instead of none and a $231 fine, up from $179.

Parking or stopping at a crossing in a school zone will attract two demerit points instead of one and a fine of $308, an increase from $231.

Unsafe reversing in a school zone will earn three demerit points and a $179 fine and using a mobile phone will attract four points and a $308 fine.

This comes almost a year since the overhaul was announced by state Roads Minister Eric Roozendaal.

"We have to slow people down in school zones," Mr Roozendaal said. "Motorists need to understand their actions can have tragic consequences and must take responsibility for their behaviour. There is no excuse for reckless or negligent behaviour of any kind in school zones, whether it's answering the phone or doing an illegal U-turn to save a few seconds."

Parents continue to flout traffic rules and regulations in school zones, often double or triple parking while waiting to collect or drop off their children.

Pedestrian Council of Australia chairman Harold Scruby said many parents continued to selfishly do the wrong thing in school zones and the new laws had been eagerly awaited.

"I see parents with one thing on their minds and that's themselves," he said. "They care nothing about the other children. They don't understand that these horrible tragedies do not happen in a minute or two, they happen in a millisecond."

At one private school, pupils face detention if the car that drops them off does not comply with their traffic regulations.

At Holy Cross Primary School in Bondi Junction, parents must display a sign with the name of the pupil they are picking up.

Teachers with megaphones call out the pupil's name as the car cruises by.

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