With thousands of Australian children heading back to school for the start of the educational year, we’ll also see the enforcement of specially zoned speed limits around schools in the mornings and afternoons.
Road safety authorities reduce speed limits within school zones at specific times of day, for a very simple reason – it can save lives.
Excited young children can be unpredictable and difficult to spot, and even a small reduction in your driving speed can make a dramatic difference to the terrible injuries a child might sustain if they are hit by a car.
I was shocked to learn the number of Victorian motorists caught speeding through school zones almost tripled last year to 280,000.
During 2014-2015, the Department of State Revenue in NSW processed 100,411 speeding and red light camera infringement notices in school zones.
It has also been reported more than 117,000 Queenslanders have been caught speeding in school zones since 2010, with 6,336 caught in the first quarter of last year.
Thankfully, Western Australia has seen fewer drivers speeding through school zones over the last few years. Despite this reduction in infringements, authorities have acknowledged they will not rest on their laurels.
The harsh reality is that each and every one of these speeding drivers is putting their own and other road users’ lives at risk, including the thousands of children who returned to school in recent weeks.
As a motor vehicle accident lawyer, I have met many road trauma victims, including young children. I can tell you, road accidents involving children are some of the most upsetting cases I have ever handled.
And as a mother myself, I find it heartbreaking to see the devastation that a speeding driver can cause.
Accidents in school zones can shake an entire community to its core. Everybody wants children to be safe in and around school.
While it may seem like an inconvenience to have to slow down, the fact of the matter is that reduced speed zones around schools are vital to keep our children safe.
Speeding anywhere on our roads is a criminal offence, but speeding in a school zone around children is also completely reckless and dangerous.
I urge all drivers to remember school zones are now operating, to slow down and be extra cautious.