Speeding in School Zones; Double the Trouble

It’s almost September which can only mean one thing: back to school!

After a summer of swimming, hiking, and general lazing about, students all over Bellevue are back to hitting the books.

The first day of school in the Bellevue School District is Tuesday, September 4, 2012 and thousands of children will be walking, busing, bicycling, and driving to school.  This means areas around the schools will be more congested than during the summer.

To heighten awareness of pedestrians and bicyclists during these congested periods, the speed limit around elementary schools is reduced to 20 mph.  If you choose to drive over 20 mph in a school zone when children are present or when yellow beacons are flashing, be prepared for higher fines.  Double to be exact.  That’s right, if you are pulled over for speeding or another moving infraction (such as holding a cell phone and talking) in a school zone, be prepared to pay double the normal fine for that infraction.  This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended.   

While the fine is meant to deter speeding (rather than to simply increase revenue), a portion of the fine goes back into the system to fund school zone safety programs.  Half of the collected fine is used by the Washington Traffic Safety Commission to fund projects in local communities to improve school zone safety, pupil transportation safety, and student safety in school bus loading and unloading areas.

Next time you are driving through a school zone, drive smart and be on the lookout for children.

As a parent, it’s understandable that there are some hesitations to allowing children to walk or bike to school on their own. What is your primary reason? If you don’t have children in school, what would you perceive to the primary reason?

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