As the fall semester starts, drivers need to remember to dial back their speeds in school zones when children are present.
Here are the key things Illinois drivers need to know about school zone speed limits and the penalties for violating them:
When Is the School Zone Speed Limit in Effect?
The 20 mph school zone speed limit is only in effect when school is in session and children are physically present on or near the street, generally between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. The school zone speed limit is 20 mph regardless of the speed limit for the rest of that road.
You are not required to reduce your speed when the children are all inside the school, and you are not required to reduce your speed on weekends and holidays when school is not in session.
Be forewarned: Illinois law allows the use of electronic speed-detection devices around school zones for the purpose of speed enforcement and ticketing (625 ILCS 5/11-605).
How Do I Identify a School Zone?
When you pass near a school, watch for signs and children. School zone signs may be posted around schools, both public and private, serving preschool through twelfth grade students. The reduced-speed zone starts and ends at the sign itself.
What About Street Crossings Where Children Walk to School?
When children are likely to be crossing a street on their way to or from school, approach the intersection with caution. Any children or adults in the crosswalk have the right-of-way, so be prepared to stop for them.
What Are the Penalties for an Illinois School Zone Speeding Ticket?
As long as you were not going more than 25 mph over the posted speed limit, school zone speeding is a petty offense.
However, if you get a school zone speeding ticket in Illinois, you are required to appear in court; you cannot just handle the ticket by mail as with most other traffic tickets.
The penalty for a first offense is a conviction and usually a fine of $200 plus court costs. A second offense will run you a minimum fine of $350. $50 of those fines go to the school district to pay for school zone signage and other safety equipment.
However, the fines are significantly higher for aggravated speeding offenses. if you were going 26-34 mph over the speed limit (that is, at least 46 mph in a 20 mph school zone), you can be charged with a Class B misdemeanor and fined up to $1,500. Driving 35 mph or more in excess of the speed limit is a Class A misdemeanor with a fine of up to $2,500.
An Aggressive Will County Traffic Violations Attorney Can Help
If you have gotten a speeding ticket in a school zone or were clocked at 26 mph or more over the speed limit, the penalties are much higher than for a typical “10 mph over the limit” ticket. If you have a CDL, or if you have other recent violations on your record, your driver’s license could be suspended, and you could lose your commercial driving job. Talk to an experienced Joliet speeding ticket defense lawyer about the possibility of getting your ticket dismissed or the charge reduced. Call the Law Offices of Jack L. Zaremba at 815-740-4025 for a no-cost review of your case.