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Understanding School Zone Speed Limits in Illinois

 Posted on September 27, 2019 in Criminal Defense

Joliet traffic violations attorneyIn today’s society, everyone is busy, going from place to place in a hurry. However, speeding in Illinois is a serious criminal offense. Studies show that traveling at a high rate of speed can cause severe and even fatal car accidents. Speed limits are put in place to protect drivers and pedestrians. In school zones, the speed is reduced even more than on other roadways due the presence of young children. According to the Transportation Research Board, approximately 25,000 children are injured and 100 are killed in school zone accidents each year. It is important for any Illinois driver to know the speed limits when traveling in school zones to avoid a serious traffic violation

Illinois Traffic Laws for School Zones

Under Illinois law, school zone speed limits are set at 20 miles per hour on school days when children are present. It is enforced only when children are likely to be on the street or outside the school building within the designated school zone parameters. However, the 20 mph speed limit is not in effect when children are inside the school building during normal class time. 

Any public or private school may have an established school zone around it, including institutions run by religious organizations. These school zones are typically in effect from 7 a.m. until 4 p.m. and must display clear signage that indicates it is a school zone, the 20 mph speed limit, and that the limit is restricted to when school is in session and children are present.

Penalties for Speeding in School Zones

Speeding in an Illinois school zone is a traffic offense that can carry fines up to $1,000. Typically, a first offense results in a fine of at least $150, and a second or subsequent offense can result in a minimum fine of $300, plus a $50 surcharge.

Unlike traffic tickets for speeding in other areas, the police are permitted to enforce the speed limit for school zones within 500 feet of the sign that shows the limit. In addition, if a driver receives a school zone speeding ticket, he or she is not eligible for court supervision. Therefore, the traffic violation can appear as a conviction on the motorist’s driving record. In order to convict a driver for speeding in a school zone, all of the following must be proved:

  • A school zone speed limit was in effect with proper signage where the ticket was issued.
  • The driver was traveling over 20 mph within the school zone.
  • The traffic violation took place between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on a school day.
  • Children were present and close enough to the traffic that it posed a danger to them.

School Zone Safety Solutions

New advances in wireless technology such as radar speed displays with various alerts provide an effective warning for everyone traveling on the roadways, whether walking or driving:

  • Radar Speed Displays: Web-enabled radar speed displays alerts motorists of their speed with yellow “School Zone” lettering. These portable signs mount easily on poles, trailers, or law enforcement vehicles. 
  • Audible Alerts: Amplified sound built into radar speed displays can get the attention of students and crossing guards so they can cross the street safely.
  • Beacons: Flashing beacons when vehicles exceed the speed limit alert drivers to reduce their speed immediately.

Contact a Will County Traffic Violations Defense Lawyer

Speeding while operating a vehicle can cause an accident and result in penalties for the driver, such as a traffic ticket, fines, or even jail time. If you were stopped for traveling too fast in a school zone, you can face much stiffer punishments. The law firm of McNamara Phelan McSteen, LLC understands that people can sometimes make mistakes behind the wheel. However, one misjudgment should not affect your driving privileges. Our dedicated Joliet criminal defense attorneys will build an appropriate case to defend your rights. Call us today at 815-727-0100 to schedule a free consultation. 



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