2 Hour Snow Delays: Can You Get Speeding Tickets in School Zones?

Speeding in School Zones During 2-Hour Snow Delays

School Snow Delays: Can Washington Drivers Still Get Speeding Tickets in School Zones?

Nobody wants to get a speeding ticket in a school zone. The fines are doubled, just as they are when speeding in a road construction zone. Speeding infractions get reported to the Washington State Department of Licensing and go on your driving record. Yikes! Wintertime in Washington means many weather-related school delays and we wanted to know if we can still get fined for speeding in a school zone if there is a 2-hour snow delay.

Each school district is responsible for setting up the automatic timing of those yellow traffic lights that run during times when children are walking to school, but what are drivers supposed to do when the lights are on but there is a 2 hour school delay? Can the police still give you a speeding ticket?

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What is the legal guidance on speeding in a school zone in Washington? Washington drivers are used to observing the 20 mph school zone speed limits and the accompanying yellow school zone traffic lights, but can drivers be expected to follow the 20 mph speed limit when there is a snowy school delay and we know that kids won’t be around for another two hours?

RCW 46.61.440
Maximum speed limit when passing school or playground crosswalks — Penalty, disposition of proceeds.
(3) A person found to have committed any infraction relating to speed restrictions within a school or playground speed zone shall be assessed a monetary penalty equal to twice the penalty assessed under RCW 46.63.110. This penalty may not be waived, reduced, or suspended.


We called a local Traffic Division to get some clarification. We were told drivers should check with their local Police Department or local Department of Transportation, but they advised us that the best choice for Washington drivers is to go ahead and follow the 20 mph speed limit anyway.

We then called a local police department to get the final word. We were told that every police officer still has discretion to give you a school zone fine for going over the 20 mph speed limit, even if the yellow traffic lights are flashing on 2-hour school delay days. DANG!

Yes, no matter who you are, if you're operating a vehicle in Washington, you have to observe the school zone speeding limit. Even if you are a driving cat!


RELATED: Did You Know It Is Still Illegal to Warm Your Car in the Driveway During Winter?




School Zone Sign

One such example of the double school zone penalties in Washington is at the City of Yakima, whose website states: “Pay in full within 15 days of the date of violation. Penalties on Infractions for Speeding in a School Zone cannot be reduced. No Insurance and Negligent Driving 2 degree infractions are not eligible for deferral.”

Oh my goodness, yes, it annoys many Washington drivers to drive so slowly in a school zone during a 2-hour school delay when we know there will be no children present, but according to our local laws, if the yellow school zone lights are flashing, we have to drive 20 mph or less.

SEE ALSO: 4 WA State Restaurants (And One from The Dalles) Made Yelp’s TOP 100 List

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