Back to school road safety: Aussies admit to speeding in school zones
New research has revealed a third of Australians have fessed up to speeding through school zones, with some even excusing the reckless behaviour because they couldn’t see any children at the time.
As kids around the country start to return to school this week, national insurer AAMI and Australian Road Safety Foundation (ARSF) say the statistics are shocking and are urging Aussie drivers to slow down and pay attention to signage and lowered speed limits.
AAMI’s research revealed concerning insights into our reckless driving behaviours around schools with a third of Aussie drivers admitting to speeding through a school zone because they didn’t notice the signs.
Almost a third (29 per cent) of Aussie drivers admitted to being confused about school zones, including speed limits, times and signs and alarmingly, one in ten have sped through a school zone because there were no children in sight. A further one in 20 drivers have been involved in a car accident or near miss around a school zone, and 13 per cent say they don’t know what time school zones apply.
The research also reveals that 72 per cent of Aussie drivers admit to exceeding the speed limit in general. And two thirds of Aussie drivers say they admitted to speeding because they didn’t notice the signs.
When asked why they adhered to the speed limit, almost half (48 per cent) of Aussie drivers fear getting caught by police and don’t want to pay a fine or accrue demerit points and lose their license. Concerningly, only one in five fear injuring others on the road, which shows Aussies are more concerned about paying a fine rather than putting others’ lives at risk.
#Why Aussies speed:
Not noticing the signs indicating a change in speed limit
Not knowing what time school zones apply
Lapse in concentration and driving on auto-pilot
Rushing to get to next destination, including after school/ work activity because I'm running late
AAMI Motor Claims Manager Leah James said there were no excuses for disobeying the speed limit.
“Reduced speed limits in school zones have been around in different states for more than two decades, so there is absolutely no excuse to speed through school zones," she said
"A pedestrian crossing the road has an 87 per cent chance of survival when hit by a vehicle travelling at 40km/h or less. This drops dramatically when the speed is higher [i].
"School aged children, particularly those starting Prep or under 10 years of age have limited road safety experience and can behave unpredictably. The onus is on us as adults to protect their lives and ensure they can get to and from school safely every day.
"AAMI has analysed more than 350,000 motor insurance claims across the country in the past financial year and found Fridays were the worst day of the week for crashes, while afternoons between 1pm and 4.30pm during school pickup proved the most dangerous time.”
Statistics released from the Australian Road Safety Foundation shows:
- In 2023, there were 1,266 people killed on Australian roads (up 7.3 per cent from 2022).
- Of those fatalities, 9 per cent were children under the age of 18 years.
- 16 pedestrian children were killed on Australian roads last year.
Leah James, AAMI Motor Claims Manager
A pedestrian crossing the road has an 87 per cent chance of survival when hit by a vehicle travelling at 40km/h or less. This drops dramatically when the speed is higher.
CEO and Founder of the Australian Road Safety Foundation Russell White said too many lives were lost on our roads.
"Each year, more than 1,200 lives are tragically lost on Australian roads," he said.
"This year, we want to see a decrease in road fatalities especially involving children, and we’re calling on the community to help us achieve this.
“The keys to reducing this number and saving lives are in our hands, which is why we’re partnering with AAMI to encourage Australians to drive safely around schools.
"No-one wants to be involved in a car accident with a child, these can be traumatic and have a ripple effect in the community, not just on those involved. School zones are in place to protect lives and prevent fatalities but are only effective when adhered to.”
After initially launching in 2021, Australian Road Safety Foundation and AAMI are once again rolling out their Slow Down Songs initiative across Spotify, to geo-target drivers nearing school zones. Songs start playing normally but dramatically slow down when drivers are within 5km of a school, which reminds them they are entering an area with lowered speed limits and need to slow down and take extra caution.
#AAMI’s top tips for back to school road safety:
Expect the unexpected - children have limited road-safety awareness and experience and can behave unpredictably
Always look out for children disembarking from buses or cars
If dropping off or picking up your children, follow your school’s safety directives
Avoid driving distracted and follow all road rules and signage
Further statistics, including insights on driver behaviour and state-specific breakdowns, can be found in the below media kit.
Audio grabs from:
Russell White, Australian Road Safety Foundation CEO/Founder
and Leah James, AAMI Motor Claims Manager
New South Wales