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Legal school zone signs and road markings are appearing near schools.

What are the official road rules (especially around speed restrictions) that apply to school zones in NZ?

Also, is a marked "School Zone" treated any differently to just driving past a school?


From the "Ask Jack" archives - 3 December, 2010


The reply below is from our Motoring Affairs team in Wellington.

School zones exist in the vicinity of all schools. A ‘marked’ school zone shouldn’t be treated any differently to driving past a school that doesn’t display school zone signs – they should both be treated the same, i.e. be observant for children and drive to the posted speed limit.

School zone signage is optional except for schools on a state highway. If zone signs are to be installed, they must be placed 65 metres either side of a school in a 50km/h area, and 160m on a 100km/h road.

However, the police’s policy for enforcing speed limits near schools is to ticket anyone travelling more than 4km/h above the posted speed within 250m of a school (the usual police tolerance is 10km/h, but this is not mandated).

This area of enforcement is inconsistent with the signage requirements and is of concern to the AA. Given that police enforce within 250m, we think signs should be mandatory outside all schools at the same range.

However, the advice to motorists remains the same – obey the speed limit, especially if you are in an area where children are present, so it is pleasing that more zone signs and road markings are being installed to help motorists be aware of this.

The AA also supports 40km/h variable school zones in urban areas, marked by flashing LED signs within 250m of the school that operate during the times children are travelling to or from school (the default speed limit applying when the signs aren’t in use).

More and more of these signs are being installed around schools which is encouraging and will help warn motorists to moderate their speed.