For school children, pedestrians and other road users to be safe, drivers need to be aware of and understand school zone signs and safety rules. This is especially true for learner drivers or motorists who are unfamiliar with driving and school zone rules in WA.
We’ve put together a guide outlining everything you need to know about school zone limits including school zone signs, school zone times and other precautions.
Why do we have school zone hours in WA?
In an effort to ensure the safety of students and visitors while they are walking in the streets within the vicinity of their school, local councils and city governments in Western Australia have designated school zones. Some places also have dedicated patrol services for school parking areas throughout the school term.
However, these efforts are not sufficient to guarantee student safety in school zones. Improper, unlawful, dangerous parking practices and speeding in school zones remain to be safety hazards that endanger the lives of others, especially school children.
School zone speed limits
According to Section 2.2.3: School Zones of Main Roads Western Australia (MRWA) Policy and Application Guidelines for Speed Zoning for Western Australia, school zones apply to specific roads within the vicinity of pre-primary, primary and secondary schools. These school zones are implemented to reduce traffic speeds to safe levels so as not to endanger the lives of school children present or walking along these roads.
In Western Australia, the appropriate school zone speed limit is 40 km/h. It’s important to note that school zone standards differ depending on the state. So if you’re driving in another state that’s unfamiliar to you, it’s best to check before hitting the road to avoid getting stopped by police for speeding.
School zone times
For the sake of uniformity in the implementation of school zone hours or times, the following standard times are used as a basis for setting individual school zone start and finish times in the cities and towns of Western Australia. These are based on typical classroom hours.
- Northern Region: 7:30am to 9:00am and 2:00pm to 3:30pm.
- Carnarvon Area: 7:30am to 9:00am and 2:00pm to 4:00pm.
- All other areas of WA (including Perth Metro): 7:30am to 9:00am and 2:30pm to 4:00pm.
Although there may be a slight variation in the times of operation between towns or cities, these differences in schedule would be marginal. Moreover, the times of operation in each town or city shall be implemented consistently. These times don’t apply to school holidays.
If you are a motorist who is unsure about whether a school zone is active or in effect, you can check for newer school zone signs that feature flashing lights. Or you may simply slow down to an acceptable speed once you reach the perimeter of the school zone.
Drivers caught speeding in a school zone may be fined and issued demerit points by the police. It doesn’t matter if you are ignorant of the school holiday schedule or unknowingly committed speeding in a school zone you know nothing about. There’s no excuse for not knowing the speed limits.
School zone prohibition signs
In addition to school zone speed limit signs, parking prohibitions are implemented to regulate, manage and modify parking behaviour. These prohibitions are embodied in signage meant to prevent or eliminate potential conflicts between drivers and pedestrians.
Below is a list of common signs found around school zones and their meanings:
- No Stopping: A driver must not stop anywhere along the length of a road where a No Stopping sign is found or placed.
- No Parking: A driver may stop in a No Parking zone but only for a maximum of two minutes for the purpose of dropping off or picking up passengers. The driver must be within 3 metres of their vehicle at all times.
- Parking Signs: Parking signs come with specific time limits, which means drivers can only park their vehicles for a set period of time.
- Bus Zone: Drivers are not allowed to stop or park in a bus zone, as doing so can put people’s lives at risk.
- School Zone: This sign marks the beginning of a school zone and includes information on the school zone speed limit, times and days of operation.
- End School Zone: This is a regulatory sign used to mark the end of a school zone.
Common school zone violations
While committing driving errors in the community may be unavoidable at times, especially if you are a new or learner driver, it’s best to be aware of the following common traffic offences around school zones:
- Parking against signs or limitations
- Parking against the traffic flow
- Obstructing a driveway, access point, etc.
- Double parking
- Parking a vehicle within 10 metres of an intersection
- Parking a vehicle within 10 metres of the departure side or within 20 metres of the approach side of a pedestrians’, children’s or railroad crossing
- Stopping at a ‘No Stopping’ zone
- Parking at a ‘No Parking’ zone
- Stopping on a footpath, median strip or traffic island
- Stopping on a road verge without official consent
- Parking or stopping in a parking area for the disabled
- Ignoring parking and speed limit signs
By being aware of these common offences, you can practice driving defensively and avoid making the same mistakes.
Precautions to take whilst driving through a school zone
Part of being a responsible driver in Perth is knowing and understanding what precautionary measures you need to exercise when driving around school zones – and everywhere else for that matter.
- Keep a level head.
- Be alert, read road and speed limit signs and observe parking restrictions.
- Always be aware of children and other pedestrians.
- Plan your trip so you can avoid traffic and arrive earlier.
- Stop on the school side so your child won’t need to cross the road.
- If you and your child need to cross the road to get to the school, use crosswalk services at all times.
- Whenever possible, use parents’ parking bays.
- Be aware of speed limits at all times
Using kiss and drive zones
Kiss and Drive zones give parents the proper space to pick up and drop off their children in a section adjacent to the main entrance of their school. This is the place where you can kiss your child, say goodbye, let them out of your vehicle and drive away safely.
If your child’s school has a designated Kiss and Drive zone, never leave your vehicle unattended, and do not linger unnecessarily to give other parents and their kids a chance to use the space. If you’re driving past one, be on the lookout for cars pulling out and allow enough passing space for open car doors.
Drive safely and responsibly through school zones
When it comes to road safety, especially in school zones, rules, signage and patrol officers can only do so much.
Drivers need to know, understand and abide by school zone regulations and school zone speed limits. Always be observant and alert for walking schoolchildren and other pedestrians. This way, school zones and other roads can become better, safer spaces for all.
We don’t just provide lessons for learner drivers. At Eclipse Driving School, we offer defensive driving courses that focus on road safety and best practices to help keep roads a safer place.
To learn more, contact Eclipse Driving School today!