Be wary in school zones, RACV urges drivers

February 9, 2024 BY

About 100 school aged children are injured each year during school zone times. Photo: GETTY IMAGES

WITH the school holidays over and the 2024 school year fully under way, RACV and the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) are highlighting the need for Victorian motorists to be mindful of speed limits and driving conditions near schools.

According to data from the TAC, about 100 school aged children are injured each year during school zone times.

RACV head of policy James Williams said there were several reasons to show extra caution when driving around schools, and none of these were more important than the safety and wellbeing of children.

“It goes without saying that motorists need to be careful when driving and parking around schools.”

RACV supports 40kmh school speed zones, or traffic calming interventions such as zebra crossings where a 40kmh school speed zone is not feasible.

“Where there is a 40kmh school zone speed limit, please observe it – reducing your speed gives you more reaction time and reduces the severity of vehicle incidents.”

Mr Williams said driving behaviour around schools was also the perfect opportunity to set a positive example for the next generation of drivers.

“When we obey speed limits, are patient and exercise caution, we are teaching children and our fellow motorists the importance of road safety.”

RACV has the following advice for parents and carers driving for their school pick-up and drop-offs:

  • Stay alert and observe speed limits – keep a keen eye out for change of speed limits to 40km/h and reduce your speed before entering school speed zones
  • Reduce distraction – ensure mobile devices and other distractions are out of reach or turned off while driving* Be mindful of school buses – this includes children exiting and entering buses, and give way to a bus moving into the traffic
  • Consider parking further away – park your car a few blocks away and walk to encourage a more active lifestyle, while helping to alleviate congestion
  • Consider turning your engine off – Don’t idle your engine as you wait, as studies from around the world suggest idling engines in traffic and around schools are detrimental to children’s health, and
  • Use zebra crossings – encourage children to use zebra crossings and pedestrian traffic lights where available

TAC chief executive officer Tracey Slatter supports the RACV in calling for motorists to be extra vigilant when driving in school zones.

“With the return to school, we’re urging Victorian motorists to drive at safe speeds around schools, be vigilant of pedestrians and adhere to the school zone speed limits – slowing down and taking care around our schools is critical for the safety of our youngest road users,” she said.

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