Semitrailer crashes into school

A semitrailer has ploughed into a Wheatbelt school just minutes after the grounds were full of students leaving for the day.

No one was injured in Wednesday's accident but it has shaken parents in the small town of Miling.

It came nine months after _The West Australian _ revealed concerns among residents about speeding freight trucks roaring through the town, 200km north of Perth.

The accident happened at 2.50pm, 20 minutes after students were dismissed for the day. Students are dismissed at 2.30pm on Wednesdays.

On any other day, it is 3pm.

"We are just very fortunate that it didn't happen a few minutes earlier, or on another day," parent Richard Topham said. "Kids would have been there then."

The truck crashed through a perimeter fence and drove over the school's tennis courts before being stopped by a small retaining wall, about 30m short of the art room.

Moora police attended. The cause of the accident is still unclear.

Miling is on Great Northern Highway, a key freight link between Perth and WA's mining industry and, as a result, has an above-average volume of road-freight traffic.

Hundreds of freight trucks drive through the town every day.

Some of them speed.

Locals have been fighting for more than a year for action to make the town safer.

"It's dangerous," one resident said in December. "We don't want to wait until someone dies before something is done. This is a small country town, not a pit stop."

Another resident said: "I've seen a large freight (road) train overtake another at speed, literally metres from the school playground. There was no margin for error."

At the time, P&C president and local farmer Paul White said many things needed to be done to make the stretch of highway safe, including bigger and better signage.

"I think most truck drivers do the right thing," he said. "It's just the handful who don't we have to worry about. Our school is one of only a few in the State that is so close to a busy highway."

Flashing school zone signs were installed near the school recently.

Miling has a population of about 200 but most residents live on surrounding wheat and sheep farms.

The West Australian

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