Ohio law provides for special rules regarding school zones in the state. These laws spell out precisely what can be considered a school zone, how school zone are marked, the rules that drivers must follow and the penalties drivers face for breaking the state's traffic laws regarding school zones.
Special speed limits are allowed near schools in Ohio. According to Revised Code 4511.21, the speed limit in school zones in the state is 20 mph during school recess and during the opening and closing hours of schools. Signs designating the start of the school zone are required for the speed limit to be enforceable. Signs indicating the end of the school zone are optional. Signage does not need to include flashing lights, and it also does not need to identify the hours during which the school zone speed limit is in effect.
School zones are allowed only in areas where there is a school that is chartered with the state or a nonchartered school that is approved through the state department of education. School zones do not apply to private daycare facilities when they are not chartered with the state or otherwise approved as meeting Ohio minimum standards. School zones can apply to colleges and universities.
School Zone Boundaries
School zones are only allowed in certain geographic areas. They are only in effect for 300 feet before and after a given point. The point can be the school property line, the school building line or a school crosswalk location. The person in charge of roadways for the jurisdiction makes the determination of which point to use for measuring the start and stop point of school zones in Ohio.
Some roadways are exempt from school zone speed limits. Both highways and expressways with controlled pedestrian access can have normal speed limits for those types of roadways in Ohio. Controlled access generally takes the form of fencing which cuts off pedestrian access. Essentially, these roadways are safe for higher speed driving because there is no threat of children or other pedestrians walking into the roadway.
In 2007, the Ohio General Assembly amended the state’s school zone speed limit law to double the fine amount for speeding in a school zone. A misdemeanor speeding offense in Ohio carries a maximum possible penalty of $150 plus court costs. Thus, speeding in a school zone warrants a penalty of as much as $300 plus court costs. Speeding violations in Ohio also result in points being added to a driver’s license. Points remain on your license for two years. Points for speeding are based on the number of miles over the speed limit the driver is going. If you reach 12 points in a two-year period, the state suspends your driving privileges for six months.