As children across the region prepare to take part in National Walk Safely to School Day today, the Pedestrian Council has called on the federal government to intervene to fix inconsistent and dangerous school zone rules.
School zones range from a blanket 25 kilometres per hour when children are present in South Australia, to as high as 80km/h in Queensland on roads where the original limit is 110km/h.
Pedestrian Council chief executive officer Harold Scruby said Australia’s varying school zone rules were putting children’s lives in jeopardy.
“No jurisdiction should have a speed limit in school zones higher than 40km/h … It’s completely absurd and potentially lethal. Where there's confusion, there's potential for harm – and that could be the life of a child,” he said.
And he lamented the fact that school zone rules weren’t being followed, with 10,798 speeding infringements issued in school zones across NSW in 2016. In 2017, 3,129 have already been issued.
Mr Scruby urged the Commonwealth government to convene a meeting of the respective state and territory ministers to standardise school zone times and regulations.
NSW Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said: “We want our children, their parents and siblings, teachers and support staff to walk to school safely every day, of every school week”.
“Sadly, there have been incidents where children have been involved in serious injury and fatal crashes walking to school, which we all must work hard to avoid.”