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School zone

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Title: School zone  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Speed limits in the United States by jurisdiction, Traffic law, Traffic calming, Speed limits in Australia, Zebra crossing
Collection: School Terminology, Traffic Law
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

School zone

A speed limit sign entering a school zone, along with a warning light above, in Calabasas, California.
A solar powered School Zone sign used in New South Wales, Australia.

A school zone refers to an area on a street near a school or near a crosswalk leading to a school that has a likely presence of younger pedestrians. School zones generally have a reduced speed limit during certain hours.


  • Fines 1
  • When effective 2
  • Effectiveness 3
  • Notes 4


Fines for speeding in school zones may be enhanced. For example, many authorities double speeding fines in school zones. In NSW, there are increases in fines that apply in School Zones, during School zone times. The most common offences that occur in a school zone will also attract demerit points. This includes most parking offences, such as parking on a footpath / nature strip, double parking, disobeying a No Stopping or No Parking Sign and stopping in a bus zone. In the UK the fine for stopping next to a school is 30GBP (£) In humberside .

When effective

An Australian school zone sign, covered during school holidays, to denote the use of normal speeds.

School zone speed limits are often, but not always, only applicable during posted weekday hours near the beginning and ending of school when children are likely to cross roads. In some jurisdictions, the school zone speed limit is effective at all times when school is in session, plus additional time before and after the school day. Flashing amber lights often indicate when the school zone is effective. When a school zone also has a large playground facility, it may double as a playground zone and the speed limit could be in effect longer — or even continuously.

In California, school zones are generally in effect only "when children are outside or crossing the street",[1] and usually have a speed limit of 25 mph, or 40 km/h. School zone signs are sometimes amended with the notice "When children are present" (like shown on the photo) which emphasizes its definition in the drivers handbook.

School zones may also sometimes be in effect during school holidays, due to holiday programs that use school premises. In some locations however, school zone signs will be locked up during school holidays so that motorists can drive to the normal speed limit.

School zones typically have speed limits between 15 and 25 mph (25 and 40 km/h).

Overtaking moving or stationary vehicles in active school zones is prohibited in some jurisdictions.


In a review of the available research, the Committee for Guidance on Setting and Enforcing Speed Limits of the Transportation Research Board, part of the United States National Research Council, stated:


  1. ^ California Drivers Handbook (section "Around Children")
  2. ^ National Research Council (U.S.). Transportation Research Board. Committee for Guidance on Setting and Enforcing Speed Limits (1998). Managing Speed: Review of Current Practice for Setting and Enforcing Speed Limits (PDF). p. 115.  
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