Speeding In A School Zone in NY

Anyone who lives near a school in NY or NJ knows what a school zone is. These areas – usually the street in front of or surrounding an elementary school or similar institution – feature unique road laws that mandate drivers to slow down to speeds of around 15 to 20 miles per hour. For some, these laws are the very definition of annoying, requiring abrupt and often undesired deceleration, but the logic behind them is simple and sound. Anyone who has children knows how scary the possibility of a road accident is – a car careening down a quiet suburban street, striking children at play in front of their homes is no imaginary threat.

These laws exist to protect our children and ensure they can cross in front of or around their schools without fear of injury. Because they secure the safety of our children, they enjoy widespread support and are likely to stick around as permanent fixtures of traffic law for a long time. The point is, they exist and will exist, and a sensible driver will obey these laws or suffer the consequences, which can and often be very steep.

Any time you drive at a speed higher than the speed posted for that area, you are in violation of state law. Obviously this remains the case in school zones, which often post their unique speed limits right around the school that is protected. Smart drivers will notice these speed limits, come to anticipate them in future trips around those areas and make sure to abide by those limits when they appear next. They will also notice when these speed laws are in force – school zone speed limits are often not in force all day and night, usually only requiring decreased speeds from times between 7 am to 7 pm, or similar time frames.

So What Are The Fines and Penalties For Speeding in A School Zone ?

Penalties are, as you can imagine, typically expensive and come in the form of fines or similar punishments.  But that’s not the end of the story. In New York State, ignoring the posted speed limit near a school can actually carry the possibility of jail time. The extent of the punishment is related to by how much the posted speed limit was violated.

For example, if someone is 10 miles above the posted speed limit they will be assessed 3 points and a $300 fine with an $85 surcharge.

If they speed above 10 mph, they begin to face the possibility of jail time, ranging from 15 days in jail. They can also face fines up to $600 dollars in fines with an $85 surcharge. As it is becoming increasingly obvious, it does not pay to speed near a school.

If you’ve racked up significant penalties as a result of speeding near a school, it is highly recommend that you consult a legal professional as soon as possible. An experienced traffic attorney – like the attorneys at the Rosenblum Law Firm, know how to navigate the legal system and secure the best results for their clients.

View Comments (28)

  • unfortunately I spent a long time reading the most mundane bill I've ever read and they still do not answer my question. The question of exactly WHEN is a school zone enforceable. They fall on very vague language of "on school days". When is a school day? I know for the most part Sept - June, but how about Friday, July 25th? They put up speed cameras at 2 schools on Friday because those 3 schools are open - does that mean it's enforceable only because they are open? Or does it mean we can get tickets in front of closed schools as long as it's M-F during the hours?

    The law I found referred to another, which states only this: --------------------------------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. ------------------------------------So I ask, if it's only on a school day, (a day when school is OPEN) then how can we as drivers know that one school is open on a day in August, when another one is not? I am not opposed to this enforcement at all - we have all seen those drivers that act like speed demons drive past our schools when we walk our kids in, but I think this law leaves too much gray area in understanding exactly when it's enforceable - especially (mostly) in summer.

    • Jennifer,

      Sorry you had to go through all that trouble! You should have come to us sooner! We have a page that specifically answers all of your questions. The short answer is 7:00 AM – 6:00 PM on all non-federal holidays and weekends.

  • Received ticket in school zone and did not see any signs the photo sent to me shows 40mph and my car in the photo and the fine was 41 mph
    is there a refund program I may apply to

    • Barry - In order to better assist you, please clarify the facts surrounding your ticket. What exactly was the fine for? Where did this occur?

  • Today just received a ticket speeding in school. I'm accused of going 32 mph in 15mph . The officer that issued the ticket was rude. I was actually going with flow of traffic. The officer stated I was pulling away from the car behind me. The officer was close to hitting my vehicle. What is your advice on the ticket situation???

    • Daivon - While I suggest you fight this ticket as there are significant consequences, 'going with the flow of traffic' is not a defense to a speeding violation.


    • You are facing a $393 fine, along with a significant impact to your insurance rates. I suggest you fight this ticket to avoid these consequences.

  • What's the penalty for doing 5 miles over the speed limit in a school zone in TONAWANDA NY? Should I just pay the ticket?

    • This is a 3 point ticket which carries a fine of $300 plus a $93 administrative fee if you plead guilty. Since this ticket can also cause an increase in your insurance, I do not recommend you just plead guilty to the ticket. You can enter a plead of not guilty to get these penalties reduced.

  • I received a nasty ticket today... I rolled through a stop sign (failure to stop) and sped in a school zone (going 48 in 20) .. school wasn't in session today, so I didn't know the 20 mph still applied (until I looked it up after receiving the ticket) I live in suffolk county. How much money do you think I'll be paying? Is it necessary to get an attorney?

    • Jamie - The violations you are currently facing total 9 points, and carry substantial penalties - both in fines and impacts on your insurance rates. I therefore strongly advise you to contest these tickets to mitigate the impact of these tickets.

  • I was going 47 mph in a 20 mph school zone. What kind of punishment am I looking at? Possible jail time?

    • Melissa, while a Judge does have discretion to impose jail time based on a moving violation, it is highly unlikely to occur with this ticket. However, there are still serious consequences associated with this violation. This is a 4 point ticket, which carries a fine of $693, as fines are doubled in a school zone. Pleading guilty to this violation could also cause a drastic increase in your insurance costs.

  • I recieved a speeding ticket in a school zone in Rye NY 45 mph in a 20 mph limit. I wasn't paying attention for a second, and didn't see it. What is the penalty?

    • Sean - the fine for this 6 point ticket is $693 along with a $300 assessment charge. This violation will additionally have significant impacts on your insurance rates.

  • So I was just picked up for doing 32 miles and a 20 school zone in Canisteo New York. This is approximately an hour and a half away from my house so I'm contemplating on whether it's worth just pleading guilty, suggestion?

    • Ben, This is a 4 point ticket that carries a fine of $300 along with a court fee of $93. I do not suggest you plead guilty as this will have an impact on your insurance. Feel free to reach out at 888-434-0406 to discuss your case further.

  • I got a $50 ticket (via camera/mailed to me) for going 40mph in a 25mph school zone. I honestly thought "school zone" rules were only when school is in session! This was for 7/31, in the summertime. I've Googled this and looked on the http://www.violationinfo.com site and can't find the answer. If I'm wrong, this means weekends and holidays ALSO count? Also, I see your answers to other people are stating points penalties, but my letter clearly states: "There are no points associated with this Notice."

    • Dale - school zone tickets are effective when school is 'in session.' Tickets received via camera's do not add points, whereas tickets received by police officers do.

  • Driving down a road with the speed posted 30 Mph, I come up to a small hill, now of course, you coast down the hill. An officer was sitting at the bottom of that hill. I then see the speed limit dropped to 20 due to a school zone, which I did not see. As soon as I saw the second sign after that hill, I was down to 20mph. He pulled me over saying I was doing 37 in a 20. I was doing the posted speed 30 and of course, but the hill brought me to the 37 as I was going down. I never saw a school or the 1st sign. But I did see the second sign and slowed down to the 20. But the officer clocked me as he was sitting at the bottom of that hill. I told him I did not see the 1st posted sign, and also my car tells me when I’m over the speed limit. And my car did not say “the speed limit is 20mph”. The officer acted like I was crazy when I told him my car says that when you go over the posted speed more that 5 miles. He gave me a ticket 37 in a 20. I don’t think it’s fair, I do not speed as I’m a disabled person. My daughter was even with me and she did not see the 1st posted speed sign either. And I was doing the 20 mph when he pulled me over. How can I handle this?

    • Joann - you are currently facing a 4 point speeding ticket. While we understand the reasons for the speeding ticket, they are unfortunately not a valid defense in court. There are different court systems in NY - both with their own procedural rules. In order to provide you with further information, please inform us of the location of this ticket.

  • Received ticket for doing 5 miles over the limit in a school zone in Sayville, Long Island, NY. No other convictions. Police office told me that I should plead guilty and may not receive full 3 points. Is this true? Should I contest?

    • This is entirely inaccurate. The Court does not have discretion over how many points to assign to each violation. The only way to obtain a reduction to the number of points is to plead not guilty.