Some school zone speed limits to get summer changes

School zone speed limit law

will change with signs, seasons

It's late spring, and Oregon children are finishing another year of school and heading into summer vacation -- but drivers still need to follow speed limits in school zones.

House Bill 2840 from the 2005 Legislature will change the law in some school zones, as of July 1 this year. During the summer, signs will be replaced in zones affected by the law change before school opens again in the fall.

"Before and after any signs are changed, to be safe drivers need only remember to follow the 20 mph speed limit when and where the signs say," said Sue Riehl, Youth Program Manager for the Oregon Department of Transportation's Safety Division.

Oregon law will continue to require drivers to slow to 20 mph in school zones where flashing lights indicate children are arriving at or leaving school. What will change over the summer is that if a school zone has no flashing lights, the 20 mph speed limit will apply from 7 a.m. to 5 p m. on days when school is in session.

One simple rule of thumb will always work: Follow the signs, and when in doubt, slow down.

"Or, just remember your ABCs for school zones." Riehl said. Effective July 1, 2006, the speed limit is 20 mph or less in school zones in any of the following situations:

* A -- Any time a yellow light on a school speed sign is flashing.

* B -- Between 7 am. anc 5 p.m. on school days, as posted on signs in a school zone adjacent to school grounds.

* C -- Crosswalks not adjacent to school grounds. This means where children are waiting at a crosswalk or occupying or walking within a crosswalk, or a traffic patrol person is present to assist children at a crosswalk.

Driving just 5 mph over the 20 mph speed limit increases the risk of hitting a child and increases the severity of the injury when a child is struck by a vehicle, Riehi said.

ODOT is providing funding for 43 flashing yellow light systems in school zones located on Oregon highways administered by the department, at a cost of Ebout $600,000. This list does not include any changes or school-zone safety enhancements that cities or counties may make.


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