Driving Legally in an Indiana School Zone
There are more than thirteen-thousand clauses in Indiana code—a plethora of laws to govern our daily lives. People generally want to obey the laws but in certain rare instances, how people go about the business of complying with motoring laws differs from one day to the next and from driver to driver.
On my way to work in the mornings, I usually drive through several school zones, each clearly marked with signs reducing the speed limits to 25 mph or less. And nearly every day drivers demonstrate their own unique interpretation of school zone laws, although the lead car in the school zone often sets the standard for group compliance.
Reduced speeds protect children from accidents caused by motorists and cyclists
It’s reported that Indiana bipartisan legislators have recognized the need to enforce our school and work zone speeds by renewing their push for installation of speed-detecting cameras that would sense and record license plates of drivers exceeding posted speeds in work or school zones. *Read House Bill 1404. Penalties for exceeding the posted reduced speed would include a $300 fine for the first violation. A repeat violation within five years could lead to a $750 fine and further offenses could be fined up to $1,000.
Senate Bill 398, filed by Senator E. Bassler would allow police to issue tickets if they have probable cause to believe a driver illegally overtook a school bus during engagement of the school bus stop arm. This bill passed committee in February, 2015. Read more here.
*Note: HB 1404 was not passed by the 2015 Indiana General Assembly.
How should you drive through a school zone?
Chapter 5 of the Bureau of Motor Vehicles driving manual has only this to say on the topic of driving through school zones:
School Zone Speed Limits
If you are driving near a school, you must slow down to the lower posted speed limit for the school zone. Common hours for school zone speed limits are 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. However, local authorities may establish lower speed limits for school zones when children are present.
Here are the facts you should know, in question & answer form, when driving through an Indiana school zone:
Where does the restricted speed of the school zone end?
The sign located at the end of the school zone indicates where you may begin acceleration of the new posted lawful speed. Acceleration should not begin prior to the sign signaling the end of the school zone or the new speed limit sign.
Is a reduction in speed required during school holidays?
Indiana Code Section 9-21-5-6 (f)(3) states:
(f) …a speed limit established under this subsection is valid only if the following conditions exist…
(3) Children are present.
City, township, private, parochial, and year-round school schedules operate on unique calendars. Unless a motorist has children attending the school within the immediate school zone or some knowledge of the school’s calendar, how should the driver proceed through the zone?
Unless you have specific knowledge the school within the zone is not in session, maintain the reduced mandated speed. Ignorance is not a defense recognized by the court. However, IC 9-21-5-6(f)(4) states:
(B) June 30, 2012, if the school operates on a twelve (12) month schedule, there must be a sign indicating that the school is an all year school.
What are the fines and/or penalties for failure to obey the laws?
At the time of this writing, exceeding the speed limit through an Indiana school zone is a Class B Infraction, a civil offense punishable with a fine up to $1,000.00.
Plaintiff personal injury lawyers helping people injured or killed in an accident
Ward & Ward Law Firm has spent more than 85 years representing people and family members who have been killed or injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence. Our experienced personal injury lawyers have settled and litigated a diversity of plaintiff claims involving:
- Speed Zone Accidents
- Motorcycle Accidents
- Pedestrian Accidents
- Bicycle Accidents
- Automobile Accidents
- Bus Accidents
- Taxi Accidents
- Ambulance Accidents
- Truck and Semi Truck Accidents
If you or someone you know has been injured or has died in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, give Charlie Ward a call at 317-639-9501 for a free evaluation of your potential legal claim.By Charlie Ward
Ward & Ward Law Firm
728 S Meridian St
Indianapolis, IN 46225
317-639-9501 Published 03/06/2015