How School Zone Car Accidents Can Be Different  

Public End School Zone sign on road
Posted: October 23, 2023

School speed limit zones, often known just as “school zones,” are important places. It is around this area that young New Yorkers get on and off the bus, ready to start the school day or get home to unwind after a long day. Most people will agree that school zone safety is paramount. New York lawmakers have recognized that these areas should be entitled to extra protection to protect young pedestrians and bus occupants, particularly when it comes to driving over the speed limit.  

The general rule, as many people know, is that a motorist cannot “drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.”  Where a stretch of highway is in a school zone, those conditions and potential hazards include the presence of young children. New York Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1180 (c) thus provides that  

. . . [w]henever maximum school speed limits have been established on a highway adjacent to a school as authorized in [the Vehicle and Traffic Law], no person shall drive in excess of such maximum school speed limits during: 

  1. school days at times indicated on the school zone speed limit sign, provided, however, that such times shall be between the hours of seven o’clock A.M. and six o’clock P.M. or alternative times within such hours; or
  2. A period when the beacons attached to the school zone speed limit sign are flashing and such sign is equipped with a notice that indicates that the school zone speed limit is in effect when such beacons are flashing, provided, however, that such beacons shall only flash during student activities at the school and up to thirty minutes immediately before and up to thirty minutes immediately after such student activities. 

New York school districts have authority with “respect to driveways or parking fields accessory to any school, playground, park, municipal building, installation or facility” to create certain ordinances, rules or regulations to help govern the flow of traffic and keep students and others safe. Under Vehicle and Traffic Law section 1670, this includes the ability to:  

  • Provide for the removal and storage of vehicles under certain circumstances; and  
  • Make special rules with regard to stopping, standing or parking of vehicles.   

Someone traveling through a school speed limit zone—which generally cannot exceed 1320 feet on a highway passing a school building, entrance or exit of a school next to a highway—must exercise due care and follow the rules of the road.   

Some people chose to violate the rules of the road by speeding or failing to yield the right of way. Most people who disregard the rules of the road know that what they are doing is wrong and has the potential to seriously injure someone else, but they do it anyway. The attorneys at William Mattar, P.C. have experience helping injured New York motorists after a car crash. Please do not hesitate to give us a call anytime. 

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