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How frequently do people get cited for speeding in school zones?

The beginning of a new school year brings many opportunities, and for drivers in a hurry, that includes an increased opportunity for getting a ticket.

September is the most common month for citations for violating a school zone or bus regulation. About 14 percent of more than 30,000 citations given statewide in the past five years for these offenses occurred in September, according to information from the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts.

All of those citations stem from only two provisions in state law:

  • The speed limit is 15 mph when driving through an active school zone (about 20,000 violations)
  • When a school bus’s red signal lights are flashing and the side stop signal arms are activated, drivers must stop at least 10 feet behind the bus (about 11,000 violations)

Speeding by more than 11 mph in a school zone can cost you up to $500 in fines, and passing a school bus generates a $250 fine.

The violations also mean, of course, that the driver is disregarding rules designed to help school students get to school and back home safely, which isn’t going to win you any popularity contests with worried parents.

Don’t blame the leadfoot problem on teenage drivers: they accounted for just 7 percent of the total citations for these two violations, according to the AOPC. Drivers between 20-29 years old were the ones most likely to be caught disregarding the school zone and bus rules.

In Cumberland County, there were 30 citations issued for passing a school bus last year, which was similar to previous years, according to the AOPC. The county had 38 citations for speeding in a school zone in 2018, sharply down from 63 in 2016 and 144 in 2014.

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Daniel Walmer covers public safety for The Sentinel. You can reach him by email at dwalmer@cumberlink.com or by phone at 717-218-0021.

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