School zones, parking and pick-up
School zones are areas around schools where, during certain times, reduced speed limits apply. Speed limits and drop-off, pick-up and parking rules exist to keep children, parents and carers safe and to minimise speed and traffic jams around schools.
Drop-off, pick-up and parking rules
Parking rules apply around schools, especially around school entrances.
In a school zone:
- parking restrictions may be stricter than normal
- there may be a pick-up and drop-off area where parking is not allowed—but where you can collect your children in a fast and safe way.
Schools are busy areas, where there are often lots of children—who do not always understand the danger of roads and vehicles. Make sure to take extra care when parking on school grounds and on the roads and streets around the school and follow the signed parking rules at all times.
Parking signs and markings
You should always check parking signs carefully near schools as they are often stricter than normal parking rules. The type of parking restriction, and the times that it applies, will be on the sign.
Signs and markings that you are likely to find near schools are:
- parking signs (for example, some streets near schools have 15 minute parking limits during school zone hours)
- no stopping signs
- yellow edge lines (stopping and parking is prohibited)
- no parking signs
- loading zone signs (used in pick-up or drop-off areas).
Find out more about regulatory signs.
Parking safety tips
Some schools offer the safety of parking on school grounds. However, these parks can fill up quickly. If you choose to park on the roads or streets around your children’s school:
- say goodbye to your children on the school side of the road—never get them to cross the road to their school’s entrance alone
- walk across the road and meet your children after school (never call out to them from the other side)
- try to leave home early to avoid arriving at the busiest times
- follow the directions of all signs
- park a safe distance from all crossings
- always single park (double parking causes accidents and traffic jams)
- try parking a few streets away from the school and walking with your children
- organise a car pool with other parents—to reduce the number of cars trying to park around your children’s school.
Reporting parked vehicles
If someone parks a vehicle illegally or dangerously they can be given a fine and their vehicle may be towed. You can help keep your children’s school zone safe by reporting badly parked vehicles.
Contact your council to report an illegally or dangerously parked vehicle.
Drop-off and pick-up areas, where you can quickly set down and pick up your children, are common outside schools (always on the school side of the road). They create a safe environment for children and keep traffic moving. Drop-off and pick-up areas are signed with passenger loading zone signs or 2 minute parking signs. These signs mean you have a maximum of 2 minutes to drop off or collect your children.
How they work
There can often be queues at drop-off and pick-up areas outside schools.
When using a drop-off and pick-up area you:
- must use the area like a quick moving taxi rank
- need to move forward in the queue of vehicles to the signed area
- can get out of your vehicle to quickly help your children get in and out safely (once in the signed area)—however you must not walk away from your vehicle
- are only allowed 2 minutes in the signed area (if you take any longer you can be fined)—if your children are not ready to get straight into your vehicle at pick-up time, you will need to drive round the block and queue to enter the area again
- should only let your children out once you have pulled into the signed area (it is dangerous to let them out while waiting in a queue)
- should teach your children to look out for your vehicle and to get in quickly when you pull up
- must enter front in (never reverse).
A few drop-off and pick-up areas are supervised by a volunteer traffic coordinator who:
- can help your children get into or out of your vehicle
- will make sure you only stay in the area for 2 minutes (to avoid traffic build up).
If your drop-off and pick-up area has a traffic coordinator, you should stay in your vehicle at all times (they will help your children instead).
Advantages of drop-off and pick-up areas
Drop-off and pick-up areas help to make school zones safe because:
- children are dropped off and picked up close to the school’s entrance (so they do not need to cross any roads)
- they reduce traffic jams around the school (as parents and carers come and go faster than if they were to park and walk into the school grounds)
- younger (non-school aged) children can stay in vehicles while their older siblings are dropped off and picked up—they do not need to walk, or be pushed or carried, to the school’s entrance.
School zone speed limits
When you are entering a school zone, you will see a school zone sign. The sign will tell you the:
- reduced speed limit
- times when this limit is in place.
School zone speed
The following speed limits apply in school zones:
- 40km/h on roads where the normal speed limit is 50/60/70km/h
- 60km/h on roads where the normal speed limit is 80km/h
- 60km/h or 80 km/h on roads where the normal speed limit is 90/100km/h
- 80km/h on roads where the normal speed limit is 110km/h.
The most common school zone speed limit is 40km/h.
School zone times
The standard times that most school zones apply in Queensland are 7–9am and 2–4pm.
Some council areas have different school zone times. Contact your local council to find out if your area has different zone times—or check the school zone speed limit signs near you.
When you are entering a school zone that operates outside of the normal times, you will see a flashing light school zone sign.
When you are entering a school zone that operates all day (for example, 7am–4pm) because the school has a split campus where children often cross the road throughout the day—you may see a flashing light school zone sign.