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March 23, 2008

School zones on days with no school

From Kimberly Norton:

The speed limit in school zones ranges from 10 mph to 30 mph. The zones are posted with a sign and/or flashing lights. When school is "not" in session are we still legally obligated to drive reduced speed in school zones? This situation will usually occur on Teacher In-Service days, school holidays, Good Friday (when near a Catholic school), and about two weeks before the start of a new school year.


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TWU Commuter

I have been curious about this myself. On holidays and this past spring break, the flashing lights have not come on in the two school zones surrounding my home.

Gordon Dickson

I've been told by police in the past (haven't asked recently, though) that your default behavior should be to assume the school zone is in effect ... i.e. if lights are flashing go ahead and slow down ... Sometimes there are night classes, night events or summer school classes that warrant a school zone at unusual times. I know that's a pain, though, and could get you honked at gestured at. It's an interesting gray area.


If the sign says "when lights are flashing" and the lights are flashing, then you had better observe the speed limit posted. I don't see how you could defend yourself against ignoring the lights no matter if you know there's school or not.


I've never been pulled over for it, but when I lived next to a school zone, I was always ignored the flashing lights when school wasn't in session, or even on a day with early dismissal. I think I heard a friend get out of it based on something like that. Of course, having school-age kids gave me the heads up on when school was out.

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