When do school zones start for driving: NSW, ACT, Victoria, Qld, SA, WA, NT

With the new school year beginning at the end of January, drivers are reminded of the safety measures they need to be taking around school areas – and the brutal fines they’ll cop if they break the rules.

In every state and territory across the country, rules and penalties for driving in school zones are slightly different. Here’s what you need to do when driving near a school, wherever you are in Australia.

New South Wales

When: The Eastern Division of NSW begins Term 1 on Tuesday January 30, while the Western Division begins on Tuesday February 6. Both divisions end on Friday April 12.

Term 2 is from Monday April 29 to Friday July 5, Term 3 is from Monday July 22 to Friday September 27, and Term 4 is from Monday October 14 to Friday December 20.

Times: Typically, school zones operate from 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm. Exceptions are identified with red and orange signs with the correct times.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h.

Flashing lights and signs indicate a school zone. Painted pairs or triangles on opposite sides of a lane, called dragon’s teeth road markings, also indicate you are approaching a school zone.

Fines: Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h will cop you $225 and two demerit points (five if you are under a provisional or learner licence). Speeds above 10km/h have fines beginning at $405 and four demerit points.

Using a mobile phone in a school zone will see you hit with a $514 fine and 5 demerit points.

Victoria

Dates: While some school zones are permanent 40km/h zones, others are based on school terms and operate on their weekdays.

Term 1 is from Tuesday January 30 to Thursday March 28. Term 2 is from Monday April 15 to Friday June 28, Term 3 is from Monday July 15 to Friday September 20, and Term 4 is from Monday October 7 to Friday December 20.

Times: Time-based school zones operate from 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h when the original speed is less than 80km/h. However, when the original speed is 80km/h or higher, the school zone speed limit is 60km/h.

School zone signs with the speed limit and times are placed at the beginning and ends of school zones. There are also advance warning signs indicating you are approaching a school zone.

Fines: For standard vehicles, exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h is $240 and one demerit point. This increases the further you go above 10km/h, with fines ranging from $385 to $962.

You receive three demerit points if you drive more than 10km/h above the speed limit, and automatic licence suspension begins above 25km/h.

Queensland

Dates: Various schools in Queensland have different school terms. The government advises to slow down to the school zone speed limit if you are unsure if it is a school day.

Generally, Term 1 of school is from Monday January 22 to Thursday March 28. Term 2 is from Monday April 15 to Friday June 21, Term 3 is from Monday July 8 to Friday September 13, and Term 4 is from Monday September 30 to Friday December 13.

Times: Typically, school zones operate from 7-9am and 2-4pm. Exceptions are identified with flashing lights above the sign.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h when the original speed is 50-70 km/h. However, when the original speed is 80km/h or higher, the school zone speed limit is 60km/h.

Signs with red borders and the relevant times indicate the start of school zones, and may sometimes have flashing lights to indicate they are in effect.

Fines: Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h is $287 and one demerit point. This increases the further you go above 10km/h, with fines ranging from $431 to $1,078 and demerit points from three to eight. If you have committed two or more offences within a year of the previous offence at speeds of 21km/h over the speed limit, you will receive double demerit points.

South Australia

Dates: School zones are enforced all day every day, throughout the year.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 25km/h whenever a child or student in uniform is in the area, such as on roads, footpaths or bikes.

Signs mark the start and end of school zones, and zigzag lines on the road indicate you are approaching one.

Fines: Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h is $196 and 2 demerit points. This increases the further you go above 10km/h, with fines ranging from $442 to $1,840 and demerit points from three to nine.

Western Australia

Dates: School zone speed limits apply on weekdays during school terms.

Term 1 is from Wednesday January 31 to Thursday March 28. Term 2 is from Monday April 15 to Friday June 28, Term 3 is from Monday July 15 to Friday September 20, and Term 4 is from Monday October 7 to Thursday December 12.

Times: School zones generally operate from 7.30-9am and 2.30-4pm. Exceptions include Gascoyne and Pilbara, (7.30-9am, 2-3.30pm), Kimberley (7-8.30am and 2-3.30pm) and Carnarvon (7.30-9am and 2-4pm).

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h, unless specified to be slower.

Signs indicate the start and end of school zones with their listed times.

Fines: In Western Australia, speeding fines are measured in penalty units of $50 each. Speeding up to 9km/h over the speed limit results in two penalty units ($100). These units increase the further you drive over the speed limit, and range from four penalty units ($200) to 24 ($1200), and demerit points from two to seven.

ACT

Dates and Times: The ACT government states that speed restrictions in school zones are between 8am and 4pm on weekdays.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h.

Signs will indicate when you are in a school zone.

Fines: Exceeding the speed limit by up to 15km/h in school zones is $342 and one demerit point. This increases the further you go above 15km/h, with fines ranging from $511 to $2,136 and demerit points from three to six.

Tasmania

Dates: School zone speed limits apply on weekdays during school terms.

Term 1 is from Thursday February 8 to Friday April 12. Term 2 is from Monday April 29 to Friday July 5, Term 3 is from July 22 to September 27, and Term 4 is from Monday October 14 to Thursday December 19.

Times: School zone times operate from 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h.

Signs mark the beginning and end of school zones, along with their times.

Fines: Exceeding the speed limit by less than 10km/h is $98 and two demerit points. This increases the further you go above 10km/h, with fines ranging from $146 to $1,121 and demerit points from two to six.

Northern Territory

Dates: School zone speed limits apply on weekdays during school terms.

Term 1 is from Tuesday January 30 to Friday April 5. Term 2 is from Tuesday April 16 to Friday June 21, Term 3 is from Tuesday July 16 to Friday September 20, and Term 4 is from Tuesday October 8 to Thursday December 12.

Times: School zone times operate from 7am-5pm.

Rules: The speed limit in school zones is 40km/h.

Signs mark the beginning and end of school zones, along with their times.

Fines: Exceeding the speed limit by up to 15km/h is $150 and one demerit point. This increases the further you go above 15km/h, with fines ranging from $300 to $1,000 and demerit points from three to six.

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