Police are reminding parents to add road safety to their back-to-school checklist as term one arrives.
The 2019 Victorian school year officially begins today, signalling not only the end of summer holidays but also the return of school speed zones.
The reduced-speed zones operate near schools and are designed to keep children safe at peak times when they’re making their way to and from school.
In most cases, this will see roads within a school zone that have an original speed limit of less than 80 km/h reduced to 40 km/h while roads with an original posted speed limit of 80 km/h will be reduced to 60 km/h.
The reduced speed limits will apply, in most cases, from 8am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm on weekdays during the Victorian school terms, with the exception of public holidays.
Road Policing Command Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said he wants all road users to be aware of the changes to speed limits as children return to school.
“While most parents will be all too aware that the school year is starting, everyone who drives on Victorian roads needs to be aware that classes are back on and reduced speed limits will apply near education centres as of this week,” AC Leane said.
“Police understand that parents have a lot on their plates at this time of year as they try to organise things like school supplies and uniforms, however road safety can never take a back seat.
“The start of term sees roads near schools become increasingly busy, so all motorists need to look out for children, who are among our most vulnerable road users.
“If you’re dropping off or picking up your child at school, please make sure you adhere to the speed limit and have plenty of time to find an appropriate place for your child to exit the vehicle.
“If your child is new to school or making their way to school by themselves for the first time this year, make sure they are familiar with their surroundings and the correct use of school or pedestrian crossings.”
Reduced speed limits and their operating times are clearly displayed on signs near schools and AC Leane said police will take a zero-tolerance approach towards anyone caught exceeding the speed limit or doing the wrong thing on roads near schools.
“The fines and demerit point deductions for exceeding the speed limit in school zones are significant, however those punishments pale in comparison to the horror you will feel if you seriously injure or kill an innocent child,” he said.
“Children are understandably excited to get to school and see their friends after a lengthy break. In that excitement, they can sometimes forget the dangers of the road so it’s up to us adults to ensure they make their journey to class safely.”