In California, any roadways that are within 500 feet of a school are posted as school zones, and the maximum speed limit in these areas drops to 25 miles per hour in most cases. In certain instances, such as with adverse weather conditions, drivers are required to use their judgment to determine if driving at a lower speed than what is posted is reasonable and prudent.
When drivers exceed the posted speed limit, there is a risk that they will be issued a traffic citation and face the consequences associated with that.
The Penalties Associated With School Zone Tickets
School zone traffic citations are costlier than standard traffic tickets, and it is important that you understand what the penalties are if you have received a ticket. These penalties are higher than with a standard speeding ticket. For example:
- You will be charged $99 if you are caught speeding up to 15 miles per hour over the posted speed limit in a school zone,
- $175 for up to 25 miles per hour over the speed limit, and
- $350 for 26 miles per hour over or more.
When a Lower Speed Limit Applies
Simply driving at the posted speed limit in a school zone will not always keep you from getting a speeding ticket. There are certain instances when a lower speed limit than what is posted applies, and the law states that drivers must use reasonable judgment to determine if it is safer to drive at a lower speed limit. For example:
- If it is very foggy or raining heavily, a lower speed limit may be safer.
- In some cases, a lower speed limit than 25 miles per hour may be posted in school zones. For example, in some residential districts, the school zone speed limit may be as low as 15 miles per hour, and drivers are required to monitor the posted speed limits.
Why Kids Are More Prone to School Zone Accident Injuries
School zones have special speed limits to keep children safe as they enter and leave school as well as during recess.
- Most posted school zones have the reduced speed limit in effect only during before school, after school and recess hours for this reason. This is when many children may be on sidewalks, crossing streets or riding bikes in the vicinity.
- Children are generally more likely to get injured in a pedestrian accident in these areas because their smaller size makes them more difficult to see.
- In addition, some will not use caution and may not be observant when entering or crossing roadways, and are therefore more likely to dart out in front of cars.
What to Do When You Receive a School Zone Ticket
If you have received a school zone ticket, you can either fight it in court or pay the fine. If you choose to fight the ticket, you may win your case, and you may not have to pay the fine plus court costs. This will in turn save points getting added to your driving record, and your insurance rate won’t go up. Another option available to some drivers is defensive driving school. This can also keep points from being applied to your record and may keep your insurance rates lower.
All traffic tickets are costly, but school zone speeding tickets can be way more expensive. It is best to be vigilant when driving through a school zone to avoid getting a ticket and to look for pedestrians in these areas. If you have received a ticket for speeding in a school zone, carefully consider the options and decide if you want to pay the fine or fight it in the court of law.