• Activity
  • Roads, Vehicles & Traffic

Local speed zones

Learning areas:
  • English
Year levels:
  • Year 5
  • Year 6

In response to the scenario below, have students investigate what the existing situation is in relation to different speed zones in the local area. Have students prepare a report with research about the different speed zones that exist and make recommendations about whether existing speed zones should be changed or remain the same.

You are on a Local Government Road Safety Task Force. There is some discontent in the local area about the speed zones. Some people think the speeds should be higher and others think they should be lower.

Discussion questions

  • Where and why are speed zones different?
  • Why would people want higher speed zones or be opposed to lowering speed limits?
  • Why would people want lower speed zones or be opposed to increasing speed limits?
  • What effect could there be on personal and community safety if speeds were increased or decreased?

Information for teachers

Default speed limits

Speed limit signs are not displayed on all roads in Victoria. Speed limits are determined by factors such as the function and classification of the road (e.g. local road, residential street, arterial road, freeway, highway), the location, topography, land use in the surrounding area, the type of road users commonly using the road, and the condition of the road and roadside. Where speed limit signs are not installed, the default speed limit is always in effect. In built-up areas, the default speed limit is 50 km/h. On country roads outside built-up areas, the default speed limit is 100 km/h.

Speed limits in pedestrian areas

In areas with high numbers of pedestrians, it may be necessary to travel at speeds well below the signed maximum speed limit.

The use of 40 km/h speed limits is part of the Government’s road safety strategy, which seeks to improve roads safety for all users, including pedestrians. 40 km/h speed limits, which operate during times of high pedestrian activity, have been introduced near schools and in shopping strips.

What are the benefits of lower speed limits?

Each year on Victorian roads, pedestrians comprise around 16 per cent of deaths and 11 per cent of serious injuries. Speed is a factor in many of the crashes involving pedestrians. The risk of death or serious injury for a pedestrian increases steadily as the speed increases. If an adult pedestrian is hit by a car travelling at 50km/h the risk of death is about 60%.

Victorian curriculum


Level 5

Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (VCELY319)

Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive print and multimodal texts, choosing text structures, language features, images and sound appropriate to purpose and audience (VCELY329)

Level 6

Use comprehension strategies to interpret and analyse information and ideas, comparing content from a variety of textual sources including media and digital texts (VCELY347)

Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts, choosing and experimenting with text structures, language features, images and digital resources appropriate to purpose and audience (VCELY358)