As children around the country return to school, this means school zones are being switched on and penalties are back in force for those who disobey the law.

    Every Australian state and territory has different laws and penalties so let’s take this time to complete a refresher class.

    New South Wales

    Term one started on January 31, 2024 for the Eastern division of New South Wales, while schools in the Western division will return on February 6, 2024. The first term will cease on April 12.

    Most individual school zones across the state operate between 8am until 9:30am and 2:30pm until 4pm. There are signs with flashing lights to indicate a school zone.

    This year the NSW Government is introducing new 30km/h speed limits across High Pedestrian Activity Areas (HPAA).

    The Manly HPAA in particular has several school zones within the new 30km/h speed limit areas. This lowered speed limit also applies to the school zone and is reflected on school zone signs. All other school zones have a speed limit of 40km/h.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    1-10km/h over the speed limit in a school zone (Learner or provision driver)$225 and five demerits
    1-10km/h over the speed limit in a school zone$225 and two demerits
    More than 10km/h over the speed limit in a school zone (Learner or provision driver)$405 and five demerits
    More than 10km/h over the speed limit in a school zone$405 and four demerits
    Not stopping before a hand-held stop sign in a school zone$514 and four demerits
    Stopping in an intersection in a school zone$514 and two demerits
    Drive across dividing line to perform a U-Turn in a school zone$514 and four demerits
    Attempting an illegal U-Turn$387 and three demerits
    Entering a blocked pedestrian crossing in a school zone$387 and three demerits
    Stopping on or near a pedestrian crossing within a school zone$514 and two demerits
    Disobeying a no-stopping sign in a school zone$387 and two demerits
    Stoping in a bus zone within a school zone$387 and two demerits
    Double parking in a school zone$387 and two demerits
    Using a mobile phone within a school zone$514 and five demerits

    Victoria

    Term one in Victoria commenced on January 30, 2024 and will cease on March 28, 2024.

    In Victoria, school zones operate between 8am until 9:30am and 2:30pm until 4pm. School zones have respective signage and in most cases read “School times” or “School Zone” on them.

    According to VicRoads, the Victorian school zone speed limit is set to 40km/h.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    1-10km/h over the speed limit$240 and one demerits
    10km/h to 24km/h over the speed limit$385 and three demerits
    25km/h to 29km/h over the speed limit$529 and three months licence suspension
    30km/h to 34km/h over the speed limit$625 and three months licence suspension
    35km/h to 39km/h over the speed limit$721 and six months licence suspension
    40km/h to 44km/h over the speed limit$817 and six months licence suspension
    Over 45km/h or more$962 and 12 months licence suspension

    Queensland

    Children in Queensland returned to school on January, 22 2024 and will finish term one on March 28, 2024.

    In Queensland, most school zones operate between 7am until 9am and 2pm until 4pm. Some private and state schools could have different school terms and hours which can differ from regular school zone operating hours.

    The speed limit in school zones is commonly 40km/h where the normal speed limit is 50, 60 or 70km/h. On roads where the normal speed limit is 80km/h or above the school zone limit is increased 60km/h.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    1-10km/h over the speed limit$309 and one demerits
    10km/h to 20km/h over the speed limit$464 and three demerits
    20km/h to 30km/h over the speed limit$696 and four demerits
    30km/h to 40km/h over the speed limit$1161 and six demerits
    Driving at an unsafe speed when approaching a children’s crossingCourt imposed fine and three demerits
    Failing to stop for a pedestrian on a children’s crossing$464 and three demerits
    Disobeying a hand-held stop sign in a school zone$464 and three demerits
    Making a U-turn as a children or pedestrian crossing$123 and two demerits

    South Australia

    Students returned to school on January 29, 2024 and will complete term one on April 12, 2024.

    A school zone in South Australia is enforceable 24 hours a day, seven days a week. A school zone is operation during any time a child is within the zone including on the road, footpath and median strip or on a bike.

    School zones are marked with a white zigzag line in the centre of the road. The speed limit is 25km/h throughout the school zone.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    1-9km/h over the speed limit in a school zone$295 and two demerits
    10km/h to 19km/h over the speed limit$541 and three demerits
    20km/h to 29km/h over the speed limit$998 and five demerits
    30km/h to 44km/h over the speed limit$1734 and seven demerits
    Exceed the speed limit by 45km/h or more in a school zone$1939 and nine demerits
    Speeding past a school bus *depending on your speed$295 to $1939 and between two to nine demerits
    Failing to stop at the stop line at a children’s crossing$598 and three demerits
    Disobeying a hand-held stop sign in a school zone$522 and three demerits
    Driving onto a children’s crossing while pedestrian or bicycle
    rider is crossing
    $598 and three demerits
    Overtaking a vehicle across a children’s crossing$574 and three demerits
    Stopping on a children’s crossing$210

    Western Australia

    Term one commences on January 31, 2024 and concludes on March 28, 2024.

    Most school zones operate between 7:30am until 9am and 2pm until 4pm. The Kimberly region has adjusted school zone operating hours between 7am until 8:30am and 2pm until 3:30pm.

    In Western Australia drivers are required to slow down to 40km/h when traveling through a school zone.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    1-9km/h over the speed limit $100
    10km/h to 19km/h over the speed limit$200 and two demerits
    20km/h to 29km/h over the speed limit$400 and three demerits
    30km/h to 40km/h over the speed limit$800 and six demerits
    More than 40km/h over the speed limit$1200 and seven demerits
    Failure to give way to pedestrians at a crossing$300 and three demerits

    Tasmania

    Children from Tasmania return to school for term one on February 8, 2024 until April 12, 2024.

    School zones are operational in Tasmania between 8am until 9:30am and 2:30pm until 4pm. School zones are identifiable by LED signs during the operation hours.

    The speed limit is set to 40km/h within school zones.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    Less than 10km/h over the speed limit$98 and two demerit points
    10km/h to 14km/h over the speed limit$146 and two demerits
    15km/h to 22km/h over the speed limit$195 and three demerits
    23km/h to 29km/h over the speed limit$341 and three demerits
    30km/h to 37km/h over the speed limit$585 and five demerits
    38km/h to 44km/h over the speed limit$829, six demerits and three months licence disqualification
    More than 40km/h over the speed limit$1121, six demerits and four months licence disqualification

    Northern Territory

    Children in the Northern Territory began term one on January 30, 2024. The first term concludes on April 5, 2024.

    School zones are operational between 7am until 5pm during school days.

    The speed limit when travelling through school zones in the Northern Territory is 40km/h.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    Less than 15km/h over the speed limit$150 and one demerit points
    15km/h to 30km/h over the speed limit$300 and three demerits
    30km/h to 45km/h over the speed limit$600 and four demerits
    More than 40km/h over the speed limit$1000 and six demerits

    Australian Capital Territory

    Students went back to school on January 29, 2024 and complete term one on April 12, 2024.

    School zones are operational in the Australian Capital Territory between 8am until 4pm. The speed limit within a school zone is 40km/h.

    Below is a list of school zone offences and the corresponding penalties:

    OffencePenalty
    Less than 15km/h over the speed limit within a school zone$342 and one demerits
    15km/h to 30km/h over the speed limit within a school zone$511 and three demerits
    30km/h to 45km/h over the speed limit within a school zone$799 and four demerits
    More than 40km/h over the speed limit within a school zone$2136 and six demerits
    Driving at an unsafe speed when approaching a children’s crossing$518 and three demerits
    Disobey hand-held sign at children’s 20 crossing$518 and three demerits
    Not stop at children’s crossing— pedestrian/bicycle rider on/entering crossing$518 and three demerits
    overtake a vehicle giving way to a pedestrian on or entering children’s/pedestrian crossing$518 and three demerits
    Stop on or near a children’s crossing$449
    Jade Credentino

    Jade Credentino is an automotive journalist currently based in Melbourne, Australia. Jade has had a chance to review a variety of vehicles and particularly enjoys SUVs. She enjoys traveling and going on road trips exploring Australia.

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