Speed limits

A summary of the key road rules for speed and speed limits.

It is illegal to drive over the speed limit.

Drivers and riders may be given fines and demerit points if caught travelling over the speed limit. For high level speeding, drivers face harsher penalties such as vehicle impoundment or immobilisation.

The rules in detail

The key road rules and reference numbers regarding speed limits are:

  • 20 Obeying the speed-limit
  • 21 Speed-limit where a speed-limit sign applies
  • 22 Speed-limit in a speed-limited area
  • 23 Speed-limit in a school zone
  • 24 Speed-limit in a shared zone
  • 25 Speed-limit elsewhere
  • Road Safety Act 1986, Part 6A - Impoundment, immobilisation and forfeiture of motor vehicles.

Drivers must travel at or below the speed shown on speed limit signs.

There are two types of speed limit signs:

  • standard speed limit signs
  • electronic speed limit signs.

If you are travelling on a road that does not have a speed limit sign, you must travel at or below the default speed limit.

The default speed limit in a:

  • built-up area is 50km/h unless there is speed limit sign. A built-up area is where buildings or houses are next to the road or there are street lights up to 100 metres apart for a distance of at least 500 metres 
  • rural area (outside a built-up area) is 100 km/h unless there is a speed limit sign. Some main streets in rural towns have 50 km/h speed limits and, many roads leading up to rural railway level crossings have 80 km/h speed limits.

To learn more about school speed limits and the rules you need to follow, see our school speed zones page.

There are some speed signs which set the speed limit across a whole area or group of roads linked together. An 'Area Speed Sign' appears at the start of each road that is part of the area. The speed limit on these signs is the speed limit you have to follow on all the roads in the area.

In a 'Shared Zone' the road or path for vehicles is also used by pedestrians. The speed limit in these areas is shown on the shared zone sign.

Speed limits can be reduced around roadworks.

You may see temporary speed signs showing lower speed limits as they approach roadworks.

If you pass a roadworks speed sign, you must drive at or below the speed on the sign at all times even if you can't see any workers.

You must continue driving within the reduced speed limit until you pass a sign showing a different speed limit.

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