Calls have strengthened for school zone speed limits to be scrapped across Greater Sydney where schools have been largely closed since early July.
Students returned to at-home learning at the start of term three and based on NSW’s coronavirus situation, it looks unlikely schools will re-open for several months to come.
While children of essential workers remain reliant on being supervised on school grounds, the reduction in school attendance has generated a new argument from frustrated drivers.
Many have suggested the 40km speed limit in school zones be removed until schooling returns to normal, given the reduced risk of a car accident involving a student.
A driver busted doing 52km/h in a school zone at 9.20am on July 23 complained his $205 fine was unjustified because the schools were empty.
He was caught by a speed camera as he travelled north along Woodville Road in Guildford, west of Sydney, and received two demerit points.
Arguing the road was a “six-lane highway”, he took to Facebook to ask for tips on how to get out of paying the fine.
While hundreds criticised the driver for going too fast in a strip of road clearly marked as a school zone, others agreed the rule shouldn’t be enforced while schools were shut.
“That’s where I got fined too last week. I didn’t even think, because schools are in lockdown,” one person wrote in a comment.
“That’s terrible you should fight it,” someone else said.
“It’s confusing when it’s Covid and there’s no kids at school. They shouldn’t fine you, just like when it’s holidays,” a third wrote.
Others encouraged the driver to fight the fine in court and argue that it “wasn’t clear” that school zones were active during the lockdown.
The majority of the comments however told the driver there was no way he would be getting out of the fine, as it was obvious many children were still attending schools.
“Kids are in school. You shouldn’t have been speeding through a school zone mate,” one stated.
“Schools aren’t empty. They still have children for essential workers and kids who can’t stay home,” another wrote.
Transport and Roads Minister Andrew Constance reminded drivers last month that school speed zones would remain active throughout the lockdown period.
“The 40 kilometre an hour school zones are now in force and we need everyone to be vigilant as schools will remain open for students and families who need it,” Mr Constance said.
“Drivers will need to slow down and stick to the reduced speed limit. It’s also important to remember when you see those flashing lights on the back of a bus, slow down and keep an eye out for children.”
The NSW Department of Transport has been contacted for comment.