You won’t travel many miles in the greater Cincinnati area before you pass a school campus. While some of those schools are private, nonchartered institutions, many are supported by Ohio taxpayers and fall under the governance of state laws for nearly every aspect of operation, from curriculum to lunch menus.

One important area of concern for lawmakers is keeping school children safe. To that end, schools throughout the state often have a safety zone around them, especially if the schools are situated near passing traffic. If you don’t have small children attending classes in one of these buildings, it may not matter to you personally. However, if police pull you over for violating the speed limit in a school zone, it may become very personal.

Play it smart

Like many people across the country at this time of year, you may be adjusting your morning commute. You have figured out that if you leave the house even five minutes before or after your normal time, you will get behind that certain school bus that stops at every intersection to pick up students. So leaving home five minutes early can actually make you 15 minutes late.

Of course, all the lights marking school zones will be flashing, so you will have to drop your speed as you pass these areas. It can make you frustrated and impatient. If your impatience gets the better of you, it may help to remember these important facts about school zones:

  • Once you cross into a school zone, the speed limit is 20 mph.
  • Speeding in a school zone can result in a fine that is double what you would pay for speeding elsewhere.
  • If you go more than 15 mph over the limit when children are present, such as recess or dismissal, you face misdemeanor charges that could result in jail, fines and court costs.
  • Speeding in a school zone may also add points to your driving record, placing your license at risk.

Since the layout of each school campus is different, the perimeter of each school zone may vary. Generally, speed limit restrictions for school zones apply for 300 feet on each side of a certain point, for example the property line of the building or the location of the school’s crosswalk. There may be flashing lights to indicate you have entered a school zone, but this is not a uniform requirement.

Traffic violations may seem like one of those things you do not want to waste time fighting, but points can accumulate quickly on your license. Additionally, if you are convicted of a misdemeanor, it remains on your criminal record for the rest of your life. It is always a good idea to seek legal advice when facing any issue that jeopardizes your freedom and rights.