Question: When passing through a school zone there are signs that state a decreased speed limit and say when "children are present." Does this statement mean when children are visible? Or does the speed limit decrease apply to the full school day hours regardless of children being visible to drivers?
Answer: I had to do some looking to find the actual definition of the wording, but here it is (see WAC 468-95-335):
The supplemental or lower panel of a School Speed Limit 20 sign which reads When Children are Present shall indicate to the motorist that the 20 mph school speed limit is in force under any of the following conditions:
1. Schoolchildren are occupying or walking within the marked crosswalk.
2. Schoolchildren are waiting at the curb or on the shoulder of the roadway and are about to cross the roadway by way of the marked crosswalk.
3. Schoolchildren are present or walking along the roadway, either on the adjacent sidewalk or, in the absence of sidewalks, on the shoulder within the posted school speed limit zone extending 300 feet, or other distance established by regulation, in either direction from the marked crosswalk.
Now that we have determined the meaning of these signs, remember that the school zones that have the flashing yellow lights are enforceable when the lights are flashing, whether there are any children in the area or not.
Q: My turn signal went out. Can I use my hand signals and not get a ticket until the shop can get it in and fix it?
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DAVID WRIGHT is a retired officer from the Bellingham Police Department who is now on the Whatcom County Traffic Safety Task Force.