The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that in 2011, there were a total of 4,743 pedestrian deaths. Of these, five percent, or 255, involved children under the age of 14. In order to keep children safe, following the law when driving through a school zone is important.
The laws for driving through school zones are in place for a reason. If you’re a driver, you need to familiarize yourself with the laws and adhere to them. For a review of the rules for driving through school zones, refer to the following.
Speed Limits in School Zones
Speed limits for roadways vary depending upon the state you live in and the area of the state in which you’re driving. However, when it comes to school zones, the law is relatively consistent from state to state. In most states, the speed limit for driving through a school zone is 15-20 miles per hour when school zone laws are in effect. In Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the speed limit in a school zone cannot exceed 20 miles per hour.
If you are caught speeding in a school zone, you not only risk endangering a child, but receiving a hefty fine as well.
Laws for Driving Around Buses
Speed limits aren’t the only thing you need to be aware of when in a school zone; laws regarding driving around buses are equally as important. It is against the law to pass a school bus when the school bus is stopped, has its lights flashing, and has its “STOP” arm extended. The flashing light and extended arm indicate that the bus is loading and unloading children. Until the bus ceases flashing its lights, motorists must wait before proceeding around the bus. If the bus is stopped on roadway that does not have a median, the law requires that drivers cease driving on both sides of the roadway.
In addition to following the laws for driving in school zones and following laws surrounding school buses, it is also important to remember to yield to children or other pedestrians in a crosswalk. Also follow the directions of a school crossing guard.
Penalties for Violating Laws for Driving in School Zones
A school zone must have proper indicators designating it as a school zone. Typically, school zones are indicated as such by signs, speed limit postings, and flashing lights. Oftentimes, school zones will also have crosswalks, crosswalk signs, and crossing guards. Sometimes, school zones will also have signs indicating that the fine for speeding within the school zone is doubled.
The specific penalties for speeding in a school zone vary from state to state. Typically, though, the fine is double that of what it would normally be.
In Connecticut, for example, the law stipulates that if a speeding violation occurs in a school zone, the violator must pay an additional fine equal to 100 percent of the assessed fine, according to Connecticut General Statues Section 14-212B. In other words, the violator pays double the fine.
If Your Child Has Been Injured
While school zone laws are intended to keep children safe, motorists don’t always adhere to the laws as they should. If your child was injured because a motorist broke the laws for driving through school zones, an attorney can provide you with the legal assistance you need during this challenging time.
For options to pursue compensation and to learn what your rights are as victims of an accident, the attorneys at Rob Levine & Associations can help.
If you have questions about how to file a claim, what types of compensation you may be able to recover, and what your best options are moving forward, our attorneys can help. For a free case consultation, call us today at 800-529-1222.