The School Zone Lights are Flashing But There's No School

Every Monday thru Friday, all of the lights in all of the school speed limit zones in front of every school, public or private, in Springfield come on at certain intervals (generally 8:00 - 8:15AM and 3:00 - 3:15PM). I am not a civil engineer, but I assume these things are on some sort of electronic calendar, as they don’t come on on weekends and they don’t come on during the summer.

I’ve noticed, however, that they do come on on holidays, presumably because no one felt like taking the trouble to reset them.

So if it’s a Monday morning at 8:10 and I know there’s no school, if the school zone lights are flashing could I still get busted for going over the 20mph speed limit? After all, the law is the law, and it says I broke it if I exceed 20mph while the lights are flashing…

Just a WAG, but I think that’s one of those situations in which a policeman, trying to stick it to you for some reason, could certainly issue you a ticket, but in which you might have some luck going before the judge and saying, “Hey, it was New Year’s Day, the streets were empty, and I knew full well that school wasn’t in session!”

Where it gets murky is that some schools might have some activities going on, even on a holiday. Or school might be in session on a holiday to make up for too many snow days. Etc., etc.

Best bet: obey the sign, even if it seems stupid. It’s only going to cost you a few extra seconds.

Light controls range from the really stupid mechanical things to fancy shmancy microprocessor controlled things. Since yours manages to keep time on a weekly basis, it’s a safe bet that it’s one of the fancier ones. I’m also betting that it has a weekly calendar in it. Someone probably shuts it off for the summer, but they don’t bother with it for a one day thing.

And yeah the cop can bust you.

Be glad you don’t live out here in Washington State - We have the “20mph when children present” type of school zone - so the sheriff’s have been working with scouts out walking at 11:30 at night to nab violators. Completely legal, as there is no time limit placed - and the point is that schools attract kids all day, not just from 8 to 3.