Information on vehicle speed limits and enforcement
Default speed limits
Where there is no posted speed limit sign, default speed limits apply.
In NSW there are two default speed limits, default urban speed limit for roads in built-up areas (ie where there are buildings next to the road or where there is street lighting) and a default speed limit for all other roads.
- Default urban speed limit is 50 km/h.
- Default speed limit for all other roads is 100 km/h.
Speed limit signs
There are two types of speed limit signs – regulatory and advisory speed signs.
Regulatory speed limit signs have a white background with the speed limit shown inside a red circle.
It is illegal to drive faster than the posted speed limit.
Advisory speed signs have a yellow background. These signs indicate the recommended maximum speed in good driving conditions for the average car.
Advisory speed signs are generally placed before curves, bends and crests.
Areas without speed signs
Some roads do not have speed signs, such as unsealed roads and roads in remote areas. On these roads an end speed limit or speed de-restriction sign indicates you are entering an area without speed signs. In these areas the default speed limits apply and you must drive to the conditions.
Local traffic areas
A local traffic area is an area of local streets that have a speed limit of 40 km/h.
The lower speed limit means greater safety for all road users and more peace and quiet for people living in the area.
Look out for bicycle riders, pedestrians and children.
Shared traffic zone
A shared traffic zone is usually a street where pedestrians, bicycle riders and other vehicles can share the road safely. These zones have a speed limit of 10 km/h.
Be sure to keep to the speed limit for the safety of all road users.
A driver in a shared traffic zone must give way to all pedestrians.
Where a road work speed limit sign is displayed, the speed limit is enforceable and must be obeyed. When approaching roadworks pay attention to all signs and obey reduced speed signs.
A school zone is the area around a school with a speed limit of 40 km/h. Between the 'SCHOOL ZONE' and 'END SCHOOL ZONE' signs you must obey the school zone speed limit. The school zone limit only applies on gazetted school days and during the times shown on the sign.
For most locations these times are: 8am – 9.30am and 2.30pm – 4pm on days gazetted by the NSW Department of Education. There are a small number of schools which have different school zone times. They are identified by red/orange school zone signs to show non-standard times. For more information about school zones visit the Centre for Road Safety (CRS) website.
School bus stop zone
School bus stop zone signs tell you to drive at 40 km/h because you are near a busy school bus stop. Between the SCHOOL BUS STOP ZONE and END SCHOOL BUS STOP ZONE signs, do not drive faster than 40 km/h. This special speed limit only applies when a bus,with flashing rear orange lights (wigwag), is driving between the signs.
Be particularly careful when passing stationary buses from 7am–9.30am and 2.30–5pm. This is when children are travelling to and from school.
School Bus lights
Buses use signs and orange flashing wigwag lights to warn you that they are picking up or setting down school children. The lights begin to flash when the bus stops and the doors are opened. They keep flashing for about 30 seconds after the doors close and continue even after the bus moves off. You must not drive past the bus in the same direction at more than 40 km/h while the lights are flashing as there may be children crossing or about to cross the road.
School bus headlights
When buses are dropping off or picking up school children their headlights will also flash. Be careful when approaching a bus with flashing headlights as there may be children crossing or about to cross the road.
Variable speed limit signs
These signs are placed in tunnels, on motorways and bridges. The changes in speed limits are enforceable and must be obeyed.
Speed camera support enforcement conducted by NSW Police. They are proven to change driver behaviour and reduce road trauma.
There are four types of speed cameras used in NSW to encourage drivers to comply with the speed limit - mobile, red-light speed, fixed and point -to point.
All speed cameras are regularly tested to ensure they are measuring speeds accurately and fine revenue raised from speed cameras goes directly towards improving road safety.
Mobile speed cameras
Mobile speed cameras are moved around the road network and are used statewide, on all types of roads, at all times of day. Like police enforcement, the exact location of mobile speed camera enforcement is unpredictable.
Red-light speed cameras
Red light speed cameras are capable of detecting both red light and speeding offences and are used at high risk intersections. They improve safety by reducing crashes caused by red-light running and speeding. See traffic lights for more information.
Fixed speed cameras
Fixed speed cameras are used at locations with a crash history or that are identified as high risk - including blackspots, school zones, tunnels and motorways.
Point-to-point speed cameras work by calculating a driver’s average speed between two points. If the average speed is higher than the posted limit, a speeding infringement may be issued