Drivers speeding near schools have been put on notice that school-day speed zones are back in force today.
More than 900,000 Victorian students return to classrooms from tomorrow, but the speed restrictions, which operate from 8-9.30am and 2.30-4pm, kick in today. Depending on the school, drivers are limited to 40km/h or 60km/h.
Nicole Tumas, of Narre Warren, Victoria, whose triplets begin prep tomorrow, said the speed restrictions were vital.
"If there's that possibility of that one child running out in the middle of the road, you've got plenty of time to brake, and if there was to be impact, it's very minimal," she said.
44 pedestrians died last year, a 22 per cent increase on the toll in 2013
"It becomes a difference between killing a child and seriously hurting one." She said her five-year-olds Charlee, Shay and Harry Brasier, would sometimes "all go in different directions" but were "pretty good when it comes to road safety". Ms Tumas will drive the triplets to school, along with their older brothers Kaiden, 15, and Liam, 14.
Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said 44 pedestrians died last year, a 22 per cent increase on the toll in 2013: "That's 44 too many."
"Police consistently target school zones because that's where people tend to get distracted, when people forget.
Kids don't behave like adults
"So they need a reminder to ensure that they're always aware around schools," he said.
The whole community needed to be cautious, he said. "Really, it's about abiding by the rules, taking your time and calmly getting your children to school so that we don't have any more fatalities," Mr Donnellan said.
Education Minister James Merlino said parents dropping their children off, and other motorists driving past schools, should slow down and be more aware of their surroundings.
"We need to always be mindful of the fact that schools, particularly at peak pick-up and drop-off times, are hectic places," he said.
"Kids don't behave like adults," Mr Merlino said. "They're unpredictable, they're small, they're difficult to see," he said.
Mr Merlino also paid tribute to the state's crossing guards, including 2900 who are paid by the government and more than 15,000 who volunteer, as the state's "most recognisable road safety ambassadors".