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School zones: drive to the speed limit and help save lives


The introduction of school speend zones came into affect in Queensland in 2012, so all drivers have had plenty of time to get use to this road rule. Most schools are now mainly student free in the lead up to the offical term break, but the 40km/hour speed zone is still being enforced this week.

What do the stats say on school zone speeding?

Alarming research from Suncorp Insurance, released in 2016, found almost one in five Queensland drivers admitted to knowingly speeding in school zones.

There seems to be a view among many motorists that driving a few kilometres over the limit is acceptable and unlikely to result in harm. This however is not the case.

We know that stopping distances increase exponentially the faster you go. At 40km/h, the average family car travelling on a dry road will need to brake for nine meters before stopping and at 50km/h, 14 meters is required. This assumes the driver reacts immediately to their surroundings, which is rarely the case.

Research from the Queensland Government shows the average driver takes 1.5 seconds to respond to the movements of other road users and pedestrians - a potentially deadly delay.

It should be noted that children are often not as safety conscious and aware of the dangers of the road. They are often distracted by their friends and busy surroundings and can sometimes unpredictably walk or run out into traffic.

Tips to minimise the risk to ourselves, our children, and others

When you next drive through a school zone or are dropping-off or picking-up your children, keep the following in mind:

  • The school zone speed limit in Queensland is 40km/h. Generally, the limit applies between 7–9am and 2–4pm.
  • School zones are clearly sign-posted and most school zones now using flashing lights to further alert drivers.
  • Reduce your speed and do exactly 40km/h.
  • Do not become distracted by the occupants of your car, mobile phones, or the pressure you may feel if you’re running late.
  • Say goodbye to your children on the school side of the road and avoid allowing them to cross the road to the entrance alone.
  • Similarly, try to meet your children at the gate after school and walk them back to the car rather than calling out to them from across the road.
  • If traffic and congestion makes it difficult to find a park or keep a safe distance from crossings, do not perform dangerous manoeuvres, instead try getting out of your car with your children a few streets away and walking in together.
  • Although not always practical and likely to make you run even later, take care, slow down and look out for unpredictable pedestrians and children. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

Written by Shine Lawyers. Last modified: April 2, 2020.

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