Harsher punishments for motorists in school zones

While the usual strict penalties remain for speeding and using a phone in school zones, the NSW Government will enforce harsher punishments for parking-based offences in school zones. 

DRIVE TO THE RULES: Motorists will have to be extra careful when in school zones, with the NSW Government dealing out harsher punishments for parking-based offences. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 021318c40kzone1

DRIVE TO THE RULES: Motorists will have to be extra careful when in school zones, with the NSW Government dealing out harsher punishments for parking-based offences. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 021318c40kzone1

Some fines have increased by up to 200 per cent, with the biggest change is for stopping over a pedestrian crossing or otherwise obstructing access to a ramp, path or passageway. 

That offence normally came with a $110 fine but now in a school zone, motorists will be slapped with a $330 penalty plus two demerit points. 

Bathurst road safety expert Matthew Irvine said the changes are appropriate but its sad that they are needed. 

“These [punishments] are more about where cars stop and where they drop-off and pick-up kids,” he said.

“There’s a lot of people who just pull up at a red light, in an intersection and the kids jump out why the car has stopped. That’s not safe and it’s not on.

“What these penalties are doing is matching up with the severity of the offence, with the severity of the outcome if the offence is committed. 

“I think its appropriate, however I think it’s incredibly said that we need it.”

While Mr Irvine said road rules are moving towards a “nanny state”, he believes it would not be needed if motorists drove to the rules. 

“To anyone who says this is nanny state overkill my response is look at the offences, have a look at the risk that is being presented in this area,” he said. 

“If you don’t want to contribute to the revenue pool, don’t commit the offence.

“Schools are getting busier. Kids aren’t walking to school anymore, they’re getting driven or they’re on the buses. Everything we can do around that whole mode of transport, is ultimately a good thing.”

Stopping in an intersection, stopping within 20 metres of an intersection (at traffic lights), stopping within 10 metres of intersection (no traffic lights) and stopping near bicycle crossing lights will see motorists fined $439 and two demerit points.

Alongside obstructing access to a passageway, motorists will also be fined $330 and hit with two demerit points for not parallel parking in the direction of travel and parallel parking close to a dividing line.