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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    Default Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    My question involves a traffic ticket from the state of: Texas.

    Hello, first post on here.
    Here's my story. I slowed from 45mph down to the posted speed of 35 since the lights were flashing on the zone sign,then entered the school zone at 35mph as is shown. About 2/3 the way down is a light, which as I approached turned yellow and I stopped for it. The officer pulled up next to me. We sat for the entire cycle of the light. When it turned Green again, I began to accelerate, ever so slightly more than the officer next to me, and went around a slight bend and saw that straight ahead was a sign marked for 45mph again, so I went back up to that speed, when I passed the sign, the officer had gotten behind me and had his lights on. He pulled me over and explained that I was still in the school zone, and should have continued at 35. I was very polite to him and everything, answered all his questions and whatnot. Didnt help... He pointed out that across the street (which is two lanes, a median, and two turn lanes, so about 5 1/2 lanes distance) was a flashing sign that ended the school zone.

    In this same town, every school zone except this one has a sign which states "End School Zone", and most have either a painted white line across the road or a line of those little bump things, clearly indicating you're done with it.
    What's more is, I got the ticket 5 minutes before the time would have ended, and there was no presence of any children, pedestrians or school buses.

    So my basic argument would be that while there is a flashing sign, it is not easily visible from across that many lanes, and that the sign saying 45 is misleading as there is no other indication of the school zone having ended.

    So ya'll are the experts, I'm interested to hear what you have to say. Should I try to fight it? Do I have a chance?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    Default Re: Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    If you had not seen a sign indicating that the school zone had ended, and had not yet passed a sign with a different speed limit, you had not reason to believe that you were either out of the school zone or entitled to drive at a speed faster than the sign you had most recently passed.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    3

    Default Re: Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    So you arent allowed to drive the posted speed untill you've passed the sign?

    I can post pictures of the area, if you'd like.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
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    Tacoma, WA
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    1,534

    Default Re: Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    Quote Quoting Austin55
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    So you arent allowed to drive the posted speed untill you've passed the sign?
    Correct. Speed limit signs indicate the allowable maximum speed from the location of the sign forward. Until you are past the sign, the previous speed limit is still in force.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
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    3

    Default Re: Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    Alright, thanks. The image here: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003r1...3_longdesc.htm shows that a "end school zone" sign and a posted limit sign are the same, if I'm interpreting it right.

    So basically I just need to find out what my exact location was when he radared me, because I was damn close to the sign. I'm afraid I'll be screwed though because on the ticket, the officer posted I was in the 800 block of the street, which is dead in the middle of the school zone, when really I was closer the the 600 block, which is a ways outside of it.

    Another question, he listed my vehicle type as an "RV", which makes me think of motorhomes, when I was driving a pickup truck. Just curious what this means.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    LA LA Land
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    9,170

    Default Re: Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    Quote Quoting Austin55
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    Alright, thanks. The image here: http://mutcd.fhwa.dot.gov/HTM/2003r1...3_longdesc.htm shows that a "end school zone" sign and a posted limit sign are the same, if I'm interpreting it right.
    not sure if you're asking a question or simply confirming what you've already been told. but yes, An "End School Zone" sign has the same effect as a speed limit sign with a higher speed limit than that inside of the school zone. They basically have the same effect.


    Quote Quoting Austin55
    View Post
    So basically I just need to find out what my exact location was when he radared me
    Unless he clearly told you that he used Radar or indicated the same on the citation, it is possible that he paced you.


    Quote Quoting Austin55
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    ... because I was damn close to the sign.
    Damn close is (1) subjective and (2) not likely to be close enough. The law is clear in this area that the speed limit is still in force until you pass the sign showing a higher/lower limit, not when you see it or get damn close to it.


    Quote Quoting Austin55
    View Post
    I'm afraid I'll be screwed though because on the ticket, the officer posted I was in the 800 block of the street, which is dead in the middle of the school zone, when really I was closer the the 600 block, which is a ways outside of it.
    I'm not sure how you'll be screwed or how you were outside of the school zone when in fact, your first post, you stated:

    Quote Quoting Austin55
    View Post
    ... and went around a slight bend and saw that straight ahead was a sign marked for 45mph again, so I went back up to that speed, when I passed the sign, the officer had gotten behind me and had his lights on.
    ... therefore indicating that he pulled you over as soon as you entered the 45mph zone... Well, if you had been driving at a speed of 45mph prior to passing the sign, that means you were 10mph in excess of the 35mph speed limit.

    In other words, if the 800 block is inside of the 35mph speed zone, and he marked the location of the violation as being within the 800 block, then he is correct. If instead, he marked the location of the violation as being the 600 block and that is outside the 35 mph limit zone, then you can try to capitalize on his error by showing that the speed limit on that block is 45mph, and if he measured and indicated your speed as being 45mph, then you were not in violation of the posted limit.

    Last but not least, if he pulled you over and you stopped within the 600 block, the location of the stop is not relevant in establishing whether a violation was committed or not! What is relevant is what he indicated as the location of the violation!


    Quote Quoting Austin55
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    Another question, he listed my vehicle type as an "RV", which makes me think of motorhomes, when I was driving a pickup truck. Just curious what this means.
    It means that to him, he classifies a pickup truck as an "RV" (is it possible that you have a camper shell on the bed of your truck?)... As far as what effect it will have on the validity of the citation, the answer is "None"... As long as he has your correct identification information, a misclassified vehicle type is not going to be an issue.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    CT & IL
    Posts
    5,273

    Default Re: Ticketed for Speeding in a School Zone with No Indication of Where Zone Ended

    Quote Quoting Austin55
    View Post
    So you arent allowed to drive the posted speed untill you've passed the sign?

    I can post pictures of the area, if you'd like.
    You should post pictures .. if the officer paced you then that may have required a distance that would make his pace irrelevant (takes at least 1/3rd of a mile to perform one) .. since this pacing distance requirement would have ended in the new speed zone (where you were following the limit).

    But if he measured your speed via radar or lidar then these instruments measure your speed over a very short distance & you speeding up when you saw the sign down the road instead of when you past it, then your defense would be a typical speeding defense.

    You really did not think that a speed limit applies when the sign is visible, right? And you know they are strict in school zones. For the children...

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