Q Mr. Roadshow, you have been misinformed by Bruce-the-Retired-Cop about when the 25-mph speed law “When Children Are Present” applies around schools. The law only requires a reduced speed while children are going to or leaving the school during school hours or the noon recess period and when school grounds are not separated from the street by a fence, gate or other physical barriers while kids are out.
A Oops, we need a clarification of this law that confuses so many, even some of my experts.
Q I get asked the same question by my driving students, so I asked an L.A. sheriff and was told that “When Children Are Present” meant outside the fence, i.e. on the sidewalk or in the parking lot. This makes sense and is what I teach my students.
A And …
Q Children may be present at schools for special events at virtually any time, including evenings, weekends and summers. Why not just make the speed limit 25 at all times in school zones?
A We need a better way, and some states have one.
Q Here in Idaho, the ambiguity is removed decisively by having signs with blinking yellow lights activated during when the school speed limit (20 mph here!) is in effect. Once in class, lights are off and normal speed limits prevail.
A And in the Lone Star State …
Q When I lived in Texas, there was no doubt about what to do. When kids were present, yellow lights flashed and the speed limit was 20 mph. Very few drivers violated that limit or ignored the signs. California should do the same.
By the way, when I pass a school in session, I drive 25 mph, much to the chagrin of drivers behind me.
A I bet.
Now back to Bruce-the-Retired-Traffic-Cop and longtime Roadshow consultant.
“Wow. I said ”anytime children are in school,” so it looks like I have egg on my face. See? The one time I don”t consult the code and I screw up. However, I would caution drivers as to what ”while children are going to or leaving school” means. It isn”t only when the crush is occurring at the beginning and end of the day. If only two children are arriving at school late, say 10 a.m., then does that 25-mph zone apply? What if children are at play in a fenced yard but one runs out to chase a ball?
“School hours may also be misleading. Remember, different schools have different hours and class times. Kindergarten can be arriving or leaving at any time of the day. Noon hours are often not at noon time. How about a school-sponsored function like a walk-a-thon on a Saturday or a dance that night?
“This law, like any other, is open to definition. My advice is to go 25 mph when near a school, especially any time during a weekday, no matter what.”
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