Why Australian Drivers Are Missing School Zones

By Frederique Bros
on 1 February 2014

School’s back, along with heavy morning peak traffic and active school zones, and the last thing any driver wants is to be hit with a fine for breaking school zone limits – or worse still – harming a child. Not likely to happen to you? Well it happened to me last year, I was driving 10km/h over the limited speed and I didn’t even know it was a school zone! By the way it was a school zone without kids, anyway it cost me money and one point on my driving licence! Let’s see why Australian drivers are missing school zones?

Results from an independent survey* conducted by leading GPS brand Navman says otherwise with nearly 50 percent of Australian drivers admitting to missing school zones.

The major reasons given for drivers missing school zones were forgetting operational times, badly signposted school zones, not realising they were in a school zone area and or simply missing the school zone sign.

“School zones are there to help keep children safe and these results are worrying. Driving at the incorrect speed can not only hit drivers at the hip pocket, motorists are also putting children’s safety at risk,” said Wendy Hammond, country director, Navman Australia & New Zealand.  “We understand that it’s easy to zone out while driving and, at the same time, there are also many distractions vying for the driver’s attention.  That’s why we’ve made safety a priority in our devices. Navman’s MY series sat-nav range has timed, spoken school zone alerts to help drivers re-focus on their environment and pay attention to school zones.”

Earlier behavioural research conducted on behalf of Navman found that drivers also often “zoned out” while driving, but when tested with a GPS, the users reported that the GPS alerts helped them re-focus on their environment. The researchers also noted that drivers were more confident when they could correlate directions to what they could see in their environment, for example when participants were warned of any upcoming school zones.

Navman MY450LMT, MY400LMT and MY Escape II all feature spoken premium safety alerts, including timed school zone warnings. The timed Spoken School Zone Alert tells drivers when they are about to drive through a school zone during school zone periods, which may be a side street or a main road they’ve just turned into.

This helps them watch out for children and may save them from hefty fines. The EZY range also contains School Zone warnings but this is via a chime and not a spoken alert. The Navman MY Series’ two models – the MY400LMT (RRP$179) and the MY450LMT (RRP$229) –also come with lifetime maps included.

The Navman survey found the most common reasons for missing a school zone were:
  • School zone was not well sign-posted (48%) – 67% of Northern Territorians cite this reason
  • Forgetting school zone times (46%) – Drivers aged 25 to 34 years are most guilty of this (57%)
  • Missing the sign (42%)
  • Not realising it was a school zone area (40%)
  • Driver was distracted (24%)

* Survey of 1,000 Australian drivers conducted by Pureprofile on behalf of Navman.

Images: Deposit Photos & Google

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