SCHOOL’S BACK IN SESSION IN PINELLAS COUNTY:
Don’t get caught off-guard.
It’s that time of year again in Pinellas County. School buses, school children, and school zone speed limits! After months of driving the normal speed limit on our daily commutes in St. Petersburg and Clearwater, it’s easy to get caught off-guard and drive through a school zone without slowing down. Of course, in its campaign to raise awareness of school zones, our local law enforcement agencies have heightened patrols in school zones.
Penalties for School Zone Violations – That’s a lot of Milk Money!
While this is often the result of a small mistake, the penalties for doing so are large. Currently, the fee schedule in Pinellas County for speeding in a school zone are as follows:
- 6-9 m.p.h. = $ 156.00
- 10-14 m.p.h. = $ 306.00
- 15-19 m.p.h. = $ 406.00
- 20-29 m.p.h. = $456.00
- 30 + m.p.h. = Mandatory Court Appearance
Laws Regarding School Zones
While it is easy to identify some school zones that are marked with flashing lights and those that are directly in front of a highly-trafficked school, others are more difficult to identify. There are several factors that all drivers must be aware of regarding school zones:
- First, not all school zones are marked with flashing lights. Sometimes, the school zone is marked only by signs showing the decreased speed limit and the times those speeds are enforced. It’s easy to get distracted by your phone, radio, or passengers and simply not see it.
- Second, school zone speed limits are not enforced for the entire school day. Florida Statute 316.1895(5) states, “speed limit[s] may be in force only during those times 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after the periods of time when pupils are arriving at a regularly scheduled breakfast program or a regularly scheduled school session and leaving a regularly scheduled school session.” Simply put, school zone speed limits are enforced 30 minutes before and after the children are regularly moving to and from school. This leads us to our next point.
- Third, not all schools start at the same time. There are over 140 school and school centers in Pinellas County. Special attention must be paid during your daily commute to ensure you don’t get caught in one of these speed traps during enforcement times. The speed limit in a school zone during enforcement times is 15 m.p.h. so be careful!
- Last but certainly not least, the fine associated with your ticket isn’t going to be your only concern if you find yourself in this unfortunate position. Points can be assessed on your license and you could see a significant rise in your insurance premiums.
Tips for Avoiding a School Zone Citation
As with any citation, if you are pulled over by a police officer for a speeding violation in a school zone, the officer will have the discretion to choose whether or not to issue you a ticket. Keep these tips in mind if you are pulled over by law enforcement:
- Don’t Fail the Attitude Test. If you are stopped by the police, be polite and respectful.
- Do Ask for a Warning. The worst the officer can say is no. A simple “I’m very sorry officer, is there any chance you would give me a warning” may be the difference between a ticket and no ticket.
- Don’t be a Roadside Lawyer. If you are issued a ticket, the side of the road is not the place to dispute the ticket.
Call Pinellas Ticket Defense for a Free Consultation
If you find yourself charged with any traffic ticket in St. Petersburg, Clearwater, or other area of Pinellas County, we can help. We can carefully examine the facts and law associated with your charge. We will relay to you all of the options that exist in your case in our efforts to secure the best possible outcome. Call our office for a free consultation to discuss all of your options. (727) 578-0303.
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