School is starting up again soon and with it, strict enforcement of school
zone speed limits. Special rules apply when driving near school zones
and if school zones are marked simply with a posted sign without lights,
drivers may miss the opportunity to reduce their speed until after they
are clocked by radar.
California Vehicle Code 22352(2)(B) states the following:
"When approaching or passing a school building or the grounds thereof,
contiguous to a highway and posted with a standard "SCHOOL"
warning sign, while children are going to or leaving the school either
during school hours or during the noon recess period. The prima facie
limit shall also apply when approaching or passing any school grounds
which are not separated from the highway by a fence, gate, or other physical
barrier while the grounds are in use by children and the highway is posted
with a standard "SCHOOL" warning sign. For purposes of this
subparagraph, standard "SCHOOL" warning signs may be placed
at any distance up to 500 feet away from school grounds."
The basic rules for school zones are if you are driving within 500 to 1,000
feet of a school while children are outside or crossing the street, the
limit is 25 mph, unless posted otherwise. Some school zones may have speed
limits of only 15 mph if specially posted. Watch for bicyclists and pedestrians,
school safety patrols or school crossing guards, stopped school buses
and children crossing the street. In addition, parents dropping off their
children can cause additional hazards.
Remember that if you cannot see clearly because of traffic or other obstructions,
it is much better to be safe than sorry.
If you do receive a ticket and you are confident that no children were
present, then try to take a 360 degree video on your smart phone at the
time of the stop. The officer will probably take a few minutes to make
notes of the stop on the back of his ticket. Perhaps you should take a
few minutes and put together visual evidence that there was no children present.
I know the stigma that goes with having received a school zone ticket.
If you are a parent or other responsible citizen, the last thing you want
on your record is a ticket that implies you were endangering children
through your driving. If you received such a ticket and believe that it
was in error, then please contact me for a free phone consultation.