Friday, March 5, 2010

To Slow or Not To Slow....That is the Question

A few years ago, a friend of mine got a ticket for speeding in a School Zone. She didn't see any kids, so she didn't reduce her speed. There were kids outside, but they were on the playground on the opposite side of the school and she couldn't see them as she approached. The cop didn't care and she got a ticket anyway.

I have always slowed down when I see a School Speed Zone sign...partly because it seems like the right thing to do and partly because there are two ways to interpret the sign....and the way our laws are...I wasn't taking any chances.

How do you interpret this sign?



"On school days" probably means Monday through Friday....does that include school holidays or no?

"When children are present"....does that mean when children are in school or does that mean when you actually "see" kids? Does that mean if they are walking into the school? Walking out of the school? On the sidewalk? On the playground?

When I googled School Speed Zones, I found out that I wasn't the only one who didn't really get it. Read this article....too funny!

To satisfy my curiosity in the matter, I e-mailed my nephew Jason who is a police officer. Here is what the sign means here in Illinois.

Special speed limit while passing schools, on a school day when kids are present and so close thereto that a potential hazard exists because of the close proximity of motorized traffic. No one shall drive a car more than 20 mph in a school zone, roadway or thoroughfare where children pass going to and from school. School hours begin at 7 AM and end at 4PM. This is not applicable unless appropriate signs are posted on streets under their perspective jurisdictions. Signs should give proper due warning when approaching a school zone and the maximum speed limit in effect during school days when school children are present.

So, according to this...you don't have to reduce your speed unless there are kids near the roadway where your speed could endanger them....it also means my friend should NOT have received and ticket...and it also means that I will continue to slow down whether I see kids or not because if I get a cop that doesn't know the law....I really don't want to be the one to "correct" him!

14 comments:

Sunshine and Baba said...

:) I Think That is the wisest thing to do. You really don't know in what mood the cops are in.

Thanks for sharing.

Mary said...

our school signs have flashing lights that go off at the appropriate times, such as when school is starting and ending. if the lights are flashing you MUST slow down or you will get a ticket. when they are not flashing it is up to the driver to use due caution if there are kids out and about but mostly it's about the flashing lights ;-)

we had a child hit and killed here about 20 years ago by someone zooming through a school zone and since then these areas have been closely enough monitored that most people obey. it's also pretty obvious when school is starting or ending because there are so many walking kids, buses, etc. and almost impossible to go faster than that 20 mph.

the crossing guards are police, also, and they'll nail any car that doesn't slow down so it's pretty simple here. i don't think people get ticketed at other times of day, though....

Bagman and Butler said...

Any sign that is written by a committee and then reviewed by lawyers has to be confusing.

Kat said...

I am with Bagman and Butler.

Sherry said...

I live in a small town, and always slow down in a school zone. Kids are always there, running on the track, playing basketball.

Kids are kids and I think a little extra caution couldn't hurt.

xo

Lori said...

I agree with Jason. My feeling is that just because you don't "see" a kid doesn't mean he or she hasn't wandered away for whatever reason to the road. The sign should be interpreted that the kids are present in and around the school during school hours. IMHO.

Have a good weekend, kathy!

Lanyardlady said...

I go slow in school zones, no matter the day or the time. It's just the way I drive.

Cathryn said...

I slow in school zones--no matter what. You just never know.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

Thanks for the clarification. I've wondered about this, too.

jen said...

that's funny. I got a ticket in a school zone my first day of college! I guess I wasn't used to driving around during school hours!

Our signs have actual times posted and sometimes flashing lights.

Matty said...

There is a lower tolerance for violations near schools because of the kids. The same as school bus violations where you pass a stopped bus with it's flashing signals. The fines and points are much higher. So because the law has a lower tolerance for these offenses, so do the police officers. I would be wary and do the speed limit :-)

Ms Sparrow said...

How is one to read and interpret the sign in time to decide if the situation warrants that you hit the brake. By then, you'd be past the shcool and out-of-luck!

Beth Anderson said...

I'm on the same page as you!!!

Oklahoma Granny said...

I just slow down period.

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