School zones have strict rules for a reason. They protect young children and teens – society’s most vulnerable populations. Every year, thousands of students unknowingly put their lives at risk when they walk on sidewalks and crosswalks in Phoenix. It only takes one moment of driver distraction, carelessness, or negligence to cause serious injury or death.
Arizona schools prioritize student safety with rules for establishing low-speed school zone areas. Arizona Statute 28-797 describes this process and imposes laws for how cities should identify, mark, and control school zones. The state law mandates a uniform application of 15-mile-per-hour school zones for elementary and middle schools that meet the criteria. Some school zone rules include:
1. Schools may use yellow crosswalk markings and portable signs to mark school zones. Speed limits will only go into effect when crossing guards or school employees place the signs in the street. Crosswalks with stop signs or traffic control signals cannot use the 15 mph school zone.
2. Portable signs must relate to drivers that speeding fines will double when signs are present and school is currently in session. Signs should also indicate vehicles must stop when students are in the crosswalk.
3. A permanent, fluorescent yellow-green school warning sign will precede every 15-mile-per-hour school zone in the state. The sign will show two pedestrian school children walking.
With this in mind, many cities impose severe penalties on those who speed through school zones. If an officer catches you above the speed limit in a school zone in Phoenix, talk with a traffic violations attorney. You could face serious consequences. Those consequences include:
The Phoenix Police Department takes ignoring school zones and speeding through them seriously. Police charge higher fines for speeding in school zones than for running a red light. The fine for going over 15 miles per hour in a marked school zone (violation code 28-797H) is $267.40 in the city of Phoenix, AZ. This is just one of the many ways the city tries to discourage drivers from speeding near schools and to punish those who break the law.
Speeding in a school zone will automatically result in two points added to your driving record with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The DMV point system in Arizona penalizes drivers for traffic offenses. If a driver accumulates too many points, the DMV could suspend your license. Accumulating eight or more points within one year will result in a license suspension of up to 12 months. The driver may also need to attend a defensive driving class. Points on your license can result in higher car insurance premiums – or more severe penalties if you’re a commercial driver.
If you speed through a school zone and cause an accident resulting in bodily injury or death, you could have a serious lawsuit on your hands as well as face criminal charges. The police could charge you with vehicular assault or vehicular manslaughter for causing such an accident. You could end up with a misdemeanor or felony conviction, fines, and jail time.
In addition, you could become the defendant in a civil lawsuit if the parents of the child you injure or kill decide to sue. A civil lawsuit could result in having to pay thousands of dollars in retribution to the victim or his/her surviving family members.
School zone slow-speed limits are in place for the safety of school-aged children. Do yourself and others a favor by obeying school zone speed limits at all times. If you do get into trouble for speeding in a school zone, you may want to consult with a criminal defense attorney about how to protect your rights and minimize penalties, if possible.