All You Need To Know About The School Zones
SCHOOL ZONE SPEED LIMITS
During the School year you must respect the laws and responsibilities that come with driving in a school zone. But what exactly are those rules? In this short article we have set out an overview of school zones, so you know how to drive safely and without penalty in these high-risk areas.
THE DANGER OF SPEEDING
Speed is the biggest danger on NSW roads, contributing to about 40 percent of road fatalities every year.
The setting of School Zone speed limits plays an important part of efforts to reduce this statistic.
To stay safe on the road, it is important to understand why school zone speeds are set and what to do upon approaching, entering and exiting a school zone.
WHAT IS A SCHOOL ZONE?
A school zone is an area near a school. These zones have reduced speed limits of 40km/ph during specific hours, because this is when children, students and pedestrians will be most active in the area.
School zones will usually be designated by special signs, and almost all school zones will have multiple signals in advance so that you have time to prepare for them. This could include flashing lights, speed limit signs and school zone signs leading up to the zone, speed bumps, Zebra crossing etc.
DRIVING IN SCHOOL ZONE
When driving in a school zone, be sure to remember:
you’re driving distraction-free, so that you’re paying attention to these signs and know exactly what to expect;
Reduce your speed to 40km/ph;
Expect increased traffic
WHAT ARE THE TIMES OF SCHOOL ZONES?
In NSW school zones are usually operating 8:00am to 9:30am and 2:30pm to 4:00pm during school days. However, some schools have different times so always check the signs.
The times above are when you’ll encounter the most traffic in school zones, as this is when most parents will be dropping off or picking up their kids. Foot traffic also increases around a school zone, whether it’s students walking to/from school or parents escorting their kids to school.
Practice safe driving and always be on the lookout for pedestrians, and make sure you give them the right of way.
Make eye contact with pedestrians;
Come to a complete stop at stop signs and crosswalks;
Don’t block the crosswalk when stopped. This forces pedestrians to go around you and potentially puts them in moving traffic;
Don’t beep your horn at annoyances;
Do not pass a vehicle stopped for pedestrians, as you run the risk of hitting said pedestrian (especially ones as unpredictable as kids!);
Avoid passing or changing lanes in a school zone; and
Put your distractions down and give the road your full attention;
WHY ARE SCHOOL ZONES 40KM/PH?
40km zones are set as the areas have a high number of pedestrians, bus stops, School drop off points and high pedestrian activity areas.
With pedestrians about drivers will need to be able to stop the car very quickly should someone step out in front of the car.
At 40km/h, it will take on average thirteen meters to stop your vehicle. You also need to allow seventeen meters of reaction time.
You will need a total of 30 metres of space to stop your car at 40km/h.
OTHER STATISTICS AT SCHOOL ZONES
According to the Roads and Maritime Authority there are more than 10,000 school zones, all with school zone signs and road markings;
School zones –As well as being marked by signs, school zones are preceded by dragons’ teeth painted on the road surface;
366 school zones have flashing lights;
65 fixed speed cameras are located in 44 school zones;
School crossing supervisors at more than 700 sites;
3,131 schools with standard times school zones;
23 schools with non-standard times school zones, five of which have flashing lights.
WHAT ARE YOU EXPECTING IF YOU ARE CAUGHT DRIVING OVER THE SPEED LIMIT IN A SCHOOL ZONE?
Below is a summary of on the spot fines likely to occur if you are caught speeding in a school zone.
Exceed speed limit by: Not more than 10 km/h (in school zone)-2 Demerits – Fine $196;
More than 10 km/h but not more than 20 km/h (in school zone)-4 Demerits – Fine $353;
More than 20 km/h but not more than 30 km/h (in school zone)- 5 Demerits – Fine $588;
More than 30 km/h but not more than 45 km/h (in school zone)- 6 Demerits -Fine $1,139- 3 months (minimum disqualification);
More than 45 km/h (in school zone)- 7 Demerit points- Fine $2,585 – 6 months (minimum disqualification).
Our Sydney Criminal Lawyers have a proven track record of obtaining Section 10 (no convictions recorded) for those caught driving. This meant that those caught were able to keep their points and not pay the fine.