The number of motorists caught running red lights at school pedestrian crossings has increased by 28 per cent in the past three financial years, figures obtained by RAA reveal.
The alarming rise in motorists caught on camera driving through a red light – up from 2949 in 2019/20 to 3761 last financial year – has prompted an RAA road safety warning as school resumes for term four from today.
The number of motorists caught speeding through the crossings was also on the rise in the same period – up from 17,465 to 18,607 – or 7 per cent, according to police figures.
The worst two school crossings for red-light runners – Linden Park and Marryatville primary schools – both in the eastern suburbs.
Motorists were fined a total $25.9 million for speeding and red light running at school crossings in the past three financial years, but RAA Senior Manager Safety and Infrastructure Charles Mountain said drivers risked more than a hit to the hip pocket for these offences.
“Pedestrians are vulnerable road users and are at great risk of injury – or worse – in a road collision with a vehicle,’’ he said.
“These crossings are designed to provide a safe crossing location for pedestrians, but this is severely compromised when drivers don’t obey the signals.
“Drivers should be aware that pedestrian crossings with traffic signals on major roads near schools will be in more frequent use from today.’’
Mr Mountain said the significant rise in red light offences could be attributed in part to the increase in traffic volumes since the easing of Covid restrictions.
“As traffic volumes return to pre-Covid levels and journey times lengthen, more frustrated motorists may be tempted to run a red light,’’ he said.
Mr Mountain urged drivers to observe the 25km/h limit when students were present in school zones, and he reminded drivers to watch out for children at these locations and be ready to stop.
“It’s important to remember that the lower speed limits apply whenever children are present and that include times outside of school hours and at weekend sporting activities,’’ he said
“When amber lights at crossings are flashing or the orange flags are out it means the crossing are in operation so slow down and be prepared to stop,’’ Mr Mountain said.
He also said school crossings would once again be in use during drop off and pick up times.
“Motorists should also remember that parked vehicles can make it harder for drivers to spot younger children trying to cross the road.
“Parents and care givers should be careful not to double park or park in driveways when dropping off or picking up the kids.’’
Mr Mountain said traffic volumes would also be impacted by the commencement of term four.
“Traffic increases with the return to school, so all commuters should allow greater travelling time if they’ve been leaving a little later over the past couple of weeks,’’ he said.