Peter Webster with one of the old school zone signs to be replaced and enforced by Easter.
Peter Webster with one of the old school zone signs to be replaced and enforced by Easter. Renee Pilcher

School speed signs to change

GYMPIE motorists were assured yesterday they would not be fined for breaching new school zone times in school zones where the old signage remains in place.

Transport and Main Roads last week launched its campaign to make roads around schools safer for Gympie students, and students throughout Queensland, backed by police warnings on Monday night that the new standardised zone times would be enforced and speeding drivers targeted.

By Easter, all school zones throughout Gympie will operate standard times - 7am-9am and 2pm-4pm, except where a school needs extended operating hours.

At present however, many Gympie schools still have the old signage, telling motorists to slow down to 40kmh from 8-9am and 2.30-3.30pm or from 2.45-3.45pm.

The new signs will be rolled out between now and Easter in south-east Queensland, and throughout the rest of the state by July.

Gympie Superintendent Chris Sang said the speed limit outside schools would be enforced as per the signage at each school zone.

"Certainly from our point of view, whatever the sign says we will enforce," he said.

Ironically, the confusion arose on the back of Transport Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk's assertions that the changes were "taking away any confusion and making it safer for everyone around schools".

"All school zone operating times will be progressively standardised to 7-9am and 2-4pm, unless specifically signed, and by Easter, all school zones in south-east Queensland will be on the new times," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Additionally, all-day school zones will be rolled out at split-campus schools where students need to cross a road to attend class. Flashing lights will be used to draw attention to these special all-day zones."

Almost 16,000 people were caught speeding through school zones in Queensland last year.

More than 65% of those were exceeding the limit by 13-20km.

"The message is simple - look out for the signs, check the times and slow down in school zones," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"There are no excuses for putting young lives at risk.

"Speeding around schools puts the lives of innocent children in danger and will not be tolerated.

"By observing speed signs in school zones we can all help make roads around schools safer."

Gympie Times

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