Principals warn speeding parents to slow down

School zones: Parents urged to slow down.
School zones: Parents urged to slow down.  Photo: Leanne Pickett

Principals are warning parents their dangerous driving is putting children's lives at risk after more than 2000 motorists were caught speeding in school zones in the first four days of school and hundreds fined for illegal parking.

The latest figures from the Office of State Revenue reveal 511 motorists a day were fined in January, which only included the first few days of the new school year, a 17 per cent increase on the same time last year.

More parents are also parking illegally near schools, including double parking, parking on nature strips and and near pedestrian crossings, with 424 fined in the first four days of school, a 24 per cent rise on last year.


The worsening figures have been described by police as "astounding" and has prompted principals to write to parents to urge them to stop breaking the law.

At Carlingford Primary, where six-year-old Akshaaye Revin was hit by car and killed while walking to school in 2013, the principal, Neil Hinton, has included a letter from several concerned parents in his weekly newsletter.

"Despite the accident occurring, last year there were daily incidents of careless driving which regularly put the kids' lives at risk," the letter read. "This may sound like an exaggeration but it isn't. Poor driving decisions can lead to devastating effects for families.

"Most people are on some kind of hectic schedule at drop off and pick up and parking is extremely limited but that cannot be a reason to make illegal and reckless manoeuvres that endanger the kids such as U-turns over the solid centre lines or via the driveways, double parking or reversing against the flow of traffic."

In Bangor Public School's newsletter, the principal Robyn Evans wrote: "Your child's safety and the safety of every other child is one of my priorities and careless driving causes accidents. I implore you to adhere to the road rules".

At Bronte Public School, the principal Melinda Sikora warned parents that pick-up and drop-off times were often "very unsafe" while Sacred Heart Primary School at Westmead said a "tragic accident" may happen because some parents were "not complying with road safety rules".


The pleas for safer driving come as NSW Police last week caught 642 drivers in just 24 hours speeding through 40km/h school zones and 1145 motorists were fined for using mobile phones while driving past schools.

The state's traffic and highway patrol commander, Assistant Commissioner John Hartley, said police were shocked at the number of drivers taking risks.

"More than 600 drivers caught speeding in school zones and over 1100 using mobile phones is extremely disappointing and shows a blatant disregard for the safety of others, particularly school children," he said.

The professor of road safety at the University of NSW, Raphael Grzebieta, said NSW should follow the lead of some European and US cities which had introduced 30km/h school zones.

"There is a 30 to 40 per cent risk of a fatality if you are hit at 40km/h but at 30km/h that drops down to about 10 per cent so that is what we want to see," Professor Grzebieta said. 

Professor Grzebieta said "intelligent school zones" should be introduced outside all schools which would ensure all speeding motorists would be caught by a speed camera. 

Dangerous parking is also increasing around schools, with the relieving principal at Coogee Public School, Matt Townsend, telling parents he saw 11 cars illegally parked outside the school one morning.

"This is very dangerous as smaller children cannot be seen when filtering between cars," Mr Townsend wrote.

St Catherine's Waverley have warned parents that poor parking behaviour could jeopardise their development plans and nearby residents have told the school they will name and shame bad drivers. 

"Parent drop-off behaviour became a significant issue among local schools last year with the NSW Land and Environment Court knocking back The Scots College's development plans citing the 'uncontrollable, unsafe behaviour' of parents as the reason," the school's newsletter stated. 

"This week an irate neighbour called in to the Junior School office to complain that cars were being parked in and across local driveways. He warned that he will be photographing offending vehicles and drivers and publishing them online."