Back to school: police urge drivers to stick to limit

BALLARAT police are hoping something happens that has never happened before at back-to-school time.

They want all drivers to do the right thing.

The gazetted 40km/h zones around Ballarat schools become enforceable today as the first of the city’s students begin the 2013 year.

Ballarat Highway Patrol Acting Sergeant Travis Johnson said it always takes a while for parents and other drivers to adjust to the change in speed zones.

“Unfortunately it takes people a couple of weeks – which it shouldn’t,” he said.

“We’ve just come through the Christmas enforcement period and people have been attuned to that...but when it comes to back to school time, everyone drops the ball.”

“It happens every school holidays.”

Acting Sergeant Johnson said the reduced speed limits will apply from 8am to 9.30am, then between 2.30pm and 4pm in the afternoon each school day.

He said drivers should also be aware of a number of permanent 40km/h zones dotted throughout the city.

If you’re speeding in places like Victoria Street, which is usually 70km/h but drops back back to 40km/h during school times, you’re already looking at 30km over,” he said.

“For that, you’re looking at a $458 fine four demerit points and a one-month loss of license.”

Acting Sergeant Johnson said police would be targeting speeding around schools this week, but also illegal u-turns, mobile phone offences and other acts which put pedestrians and drivers at risk.

“We shouldn’t need to publicise this stuff,” he said.

“If you’re a parent and you have kids and you go to school – you should know the school zones are in effect.”

Acting Sergeant Johnson said common excuses for speeding in 40km/h zones include “I need to go to the toilet” and “I’m running out of petrol”.

He said no matter how tall the tale, police would not excuse speeding around children.

“There’s no warnings. We don’t give warnings for speeding offences.”