THE return of students to district schools has prompted Gannawarra mayor, Cr Lorraine Learmonth to remind motorists using local roads to watch out for children travelling to and from school.
Cr Learmonth said that council supports children choosing active options when travelling to and from school and pre-school.
"We love seeing local children using our local roads and footpaths to walk and ride to school or the school bus," she said.
"Getting actively to school supports a healthy lifestyle and helps children learn better in the classroom. It also supports children to develop their confidence and independence."
Motorists are reminded to take extra care, be mindful of children at all times and observe road rules around school crossings. The speed limit around schools and pre-schools within shire is 40 kilometres per hour.
A digital alert sign with an attached speed camera confronted motorists entering the restriction zone in Victoria Street outside Kerang Primary School yesterday.
"We need to ensure that the return to school is a safe and happy time for our children and their families," Cr Learmonth said.
"Please observe road rules around schools and pre-schools and remember that pedestrians have right of way at all manned and unmanned school crossings."
The 40-kilometre per hour speed limit applies permanently to school zones contained with 50 or 60-kilometre per hour urban speed limits. School crossing zones with 70 kilometre per hour zones are changed to 40 at designated times at the start and end of the school day, in most cases from 8am to 9.30am and 2.30pm to 4pm on weekdays during the Victorian school terms.
Victoria Police road policing commander, Assistant Commissioner Stephen Leane said he wants all road users to be aware of the changes to speed limits as children return to school.
"The start of term sees roads near schools become increasingly busy, so all motorists need to look out for children, who are among our most vulnerable road users" he said.
"If you're dropping off or picking up your child at school, please make sure you adhere to the speed limit and have plenty of time to find an appropriate place for your child to exit the vehicle.
"If your child is new to school or making their way to school by themselves for the first time this year, make sure they are familiar with their surroundings and the correct use of school or pedestrian crossings."
Reduced speed limits and their operating times are clearly displayed on signs near schools and Assistant Commissioner Leane said police will take a zero-tolerance approach towards anyone caught exceeding the speed limit or doing the wrong thing on roads near schools.
"The fines and demerit point deductions for exceeding the speed limit in school zones are significant, however those punishments pale in comparison to the horror you will feel if you seriously injure or kill an innocent child," he said.
"Children are understandably excited to get to school and see their friends after a lengthy break. In that excitement, they can sometimes forget the dangers of the road so it's up to us adults to ensure they make their journey to class safely."