School is fully back in session now. Sadly, drivers are not paying attention. In Pennsylvania, two school zone traffic laws have been cited more than 26,671 times over the past five years (2017-2021). The two most often cited offenses are speeding in a school zone and overtaking or passing a school bus. The penalties are steep.
Of the 26, 671 cases over the five years, 16,944 were for speeding in a school zone. For this citation Bucks County is the 2nd highest offender in the state of Pennsylvania; Montgomery County is the highest. Most of the offenders are between 20 and 29 years of age. For overtaking a school bus, Bucks County was the third highest with the mixture of males to females being almost equal.
There are a few things that you can do. First, become aware of where the local schools are to you and the route that you drive on. Become familiar with the school zones around the schools that you pass on a daily basis. Second, make sure that you are wide awake when driving past those school in the morning and evening. If you have to get up earlier so that you are not in a rush or so that you can get your coffee, do it. Third, pay attention to school buses and school zones. They have flashing lights for a reason! Fourth, if you see a school bus put its yellow lights on and are wondering if you will have enough time to get past the bus, don't! When in doubt, stop! The majority of the citations that are issued are because people "thought" they had enough time to get around the bus or they "were in a hurry". You will lose more time being pulled over on the side of the road having a ticket issued.
If you are charged with one of the above offenses, there will be consequences. For speeding in a school zone, on top of the fines, you will have 3 points placed on your license. This will result in an increase in your insurance premium. If you get to 6 points in a 2 year time span you will have to take a special exam to get your licenses back. For passing a school bus while its lights are activated you will automatically receive a 60 day license suspension, 5 points on your license and increased insurance premiums.
Can you talk your way out of these citations? Probably not. Most police departments and District Attorneys have a zero tolerance policy for these citations. The best way to avoid them, pay attention in the mornings or afternoons. Obeying these laws protects our children and keep you out of court. If you are charged with one of these crimes, we have a great deal of experience with them. Give us a call, we are here to help.