School Zone Speed Limits May Be Illegal

school speed limit

If you are charged with speeding in a school zone (or reckless driving by speed in a school zone), you should definitely talk with an attorney. The posted speed limit may be illegal. If the speed limit is not correct, your case may be dismissed completely!

Virginia law sets the speed limit for all highways at 55 miles per hour. That is in Virginia Code 46.2-870. Thus, the default speed limit on all Virginia highways is 55. Any other speed must be specifically authorized elsewhere in the Code.

School speed limits are specified in 46.2-873. That section says that the speed limit for school zones is 25 miles per hour. Subsection C allows cities and towns to increase or decrease a school zone speed limit after a traffic study has proven the need for a speed other than 25.

What does all this mean?

Check the posted speed of the school zone where you were ticketed. If the speed is anything other than 25 mph, we need to talk.

The default rule is that only cities or towns can create a school zone with a speed other than 25 mph. But 46.2-878 also provides the Commissioner of Highways the authority to change school zones to other speeds.

However, a traffic study must be conducted BEFORE they change the school zone speed limit from 25 mph. If no traffic study has been done, the speed limit may be illegal. Also, if the Commissioner changes the limit, they have to have paperwork on file to reflect that change.

In addition to these angles, there are other potential challenges to school zone speed limits. If you’re facing a ticket in a school zone, please give me a call to discuss the situation.

Photo by jeweledlion

Andrew Flusche

My name is Andrew Flusche. I am a traffic and misdemeanor defense lawyer in Virginia. I limit my practice to traffic tickets and misdemeanor defense, so I know the ins and outs of these offenses. I literally wrote the book on reckless driving in Virginia which you can get on Amazon here or download for free here. I opened my practice in 2008 after earning my Juris Doctor degree from the University of Virginia School of Law. Since then I have earned over 600 5-star reviews from happy clients on Google, Yelp, Facebook, and Avvo. If you’ve been charged with a misdemeanor offense in Virginia, please don’t hesitate to contact me. Your initial consultation is always free, and you'll talk directly with me about the details of your case.

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