With the 2013 school term set to begin next week, Council is reminding motorists of the re-introduction of school speed zones.
“With the majority of Highland schools starting back on Tuesday the 29 January, it’s important to remember that school speed zones officially come back into force on that date as well,” said Council’s Road Safety Officer, Melanie Lausz.
“Drivers should also be aware that not only do pedestrian movements increase around schools, but children in particular can be unpredictable and difficult to see and motorists are reminded to take extra care and slow down around these areas,” she said.
Drivers who exceed the speed limit by more than 10km in a school zone can receive a minimum $521 fine plus a loss of four demerit points. Learners and P1 drivers exceeding the limit automatically lose five demerit points and will have their licence suspended for three months.
“Fines however shouldn’t be the incentive to slow down around schools,” Ms Lausz added. “The potential consequences of speeding far outweigh any ticket.”
Ms Lausz also reminded motorists to drive to local road conditions.
“It’s also important that drivers factor in the current state of the road surface, visibility, time of day, weather conditions, their driving experience and fatigue, the weight of the vehicle and unexpected hazards such as animals or branches when getting behind the wheel,” Ms Lausz said.
Statistics from 2011 reveal speeding continues to be the number one contributing factor for all motor vehicle accidents across the Shire.
“34 per cent of all local crashes can be directly related to speed,” Ms Lausz said. “Of these crashes 32 per cent occurred on roads with a speed limit of 50km an hour or less and almost a quarter of these incidents took place between the school hours of 9am and 3pm.”
The speed limit around schools is 40km per hour between 8am and 9.30am and again between 2.30pm and 4.00pm.