The Illinois Vehicle Code establishes a speed limit of 20 miles per hour in school zones. Under the law, this speed limit applies between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. on school days when children are present and are close enough to road traffic that a potential hazard exists.
Signs are required to be posted on roadways warning that a school zone is being approached, and indicating the existence of the school zone and the maximum speed limit in effect during school days when children are present.
There always seems to be great debate on whether the 20 mile per hour speed limit applies when children are present inside the school building but are not physically present on or near the streets or outside the school building in the school zone area. At least one authority believes that the speed limit does not apply when the only children present are those located inside the school building during school zone speed restriction hours.
In an opinion more than 30 years old, the then Illinois Attorney General stated that, “section 11-605 of the Illinois Vehicle Code limits vehicle speed to 20 miles per hour only during school days while the vehicle is passing a school zone or is travelling on a street on or across which children pass going to or from school, and then only when children are physically present on such a street or are outside the school building in a school zone. The 20-mile limit is not in effect when the children are inside the school building even though school is in session.” See, Illinois Attorney General, opinion no. S-706, 1974.
It must noted that this opinion of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office was only the opinion of that agency is not any binding legal precedent.
Suburban police departments routinely ticket drivers for speeding in school zones in mornings before school starts and in the afternoon after school lets out, the times when students are traveling to and from school. Local police departments frequently step up enforcement of the school zone speed limit law after receiving parental and neighborhood complaints, or complaints from school personnel who believe that drivers are not obeying the law.
(625 ILCS 5/11-605)
(from Ch. 95 1/2, par. 11-605) Sec. 11-605. Special speed limit while passing schools.
(a) For the purpose of this Section, "school" means the following entities:
(1) A public or private primary or secondary school.
(2) A primary or secondary school operated by a religious institution.
(3) A public, private, or religious nursery school.
On a school day when school children are present and so close thereto that a potential hazard exists because of the close proximity of the motorized traffic, no person shall drive a motor vehicle at a speed in excess of 20 miles per hour while passing a school zone or while traveling on a roadway on public school property or upon any public thoroughfare where children pass going to and from school.
For the purpose of this Section a school day shall begin at seven ante meridian and shall conclude at four post meridian.
This Section shall not be applicable unless appropriate signs are posted upon streets and highways under their respective jurisdiction and maintained by the Department, township, county, park district, city, village or incorporated town wherein the school zone is located. With regard to the special speed limit while passing schools, such signs shall give proper due warning that a school zone is being approached and shall indicate the school zone and the maximum speed limit in effect during school days when school children are present.
(c) Nothing in this Chapter shall prohibit the use of electronic speed detecting devices within 500 feet of signs within a special school speed zone indicating such zone, as defined in this Section, nor shall evidence obtained thereby be inadmissible in any prosecution for speeding provided the use of such device shall apply only to the enforcement of the speed limit in such special school speed zone.
(e) A first violation of this Section is a petty offense with a minimum fine of $150. A second or subsequent violation of this Section is a petty offense with a minimum fine of $300.
(f) When a fine for a violation of subsection (a) is $150 or greater, the person who violates subsection (a) shall be charged an additional $50 to be paid to the unit school district where the violation occurred for school safety purposes. If the violation occurred in a dual school district, $25 of the surcharge shall be paid to the elementary school district for school safety purposes and $25 of the surcharge shall be paid to the high school district for school safety purposes. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the entire $50 surcharge shall be paid to the appropriate school district or districts.
For purposes of this subsection (f), "school safety purposes" includes the costs associated with school zone safety education, the Safe Routes to School Program under Section 2705 317 of the Department of Transportation Law of the Civil Administrative Code of Illinois, safety programs within the School Safety and Educational Improvement Block Grant Program under Section 2 3.51.5 of the School Code, and the purchase, installation, and maintenance of caution lights which are mounted on school speed zone signs.
(g) (Blank).(h) (Blank).
(Source: P.A. 96-52, eff. 7-23-09.)
*NOTE: Although every effort is made to include the law in its current state, no representation is made that the law as stated on this website is current. Legislative changes may occur before those changes are reflected on this website. Additionally, laws and legal precedent other than those found on this website may apply to your particular case. For this reason, it is strongly recommended that before acting upon any content you view on this or any other website, you first consult competent legal counsel.
If your traffic ticket alleges a violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-605 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, or of a similar provision of a local ordinance, you have been charged with the moving violation of speeding in a school zone. Speeding in school zone tickets carry higher mandatory minimum fines than standard moving violations. If you are found guilty of this violation, the court is required to impose a minimum fine of $200.00 in addition to court costs. If you are found guilty of this violation a second or subsequent time, the minimum fine increases to $350.00.
The moving violation of speeding in a school zone is serious not only because it carries higher mandatory minimum fines, but also because judges are not permitted to grant court supervision for this violation. Most Illinois moving violations do allow judges to consider granting court supervision. Tickets for speeding in school zones do not.
This means that if you plead guilty to this violation, or if you are found guilty of this violation at a trial, under the law the court will have no option but to impose at least the mandatory minimum fine and enter a conviction against you.
If that happened, the clerk of the circuit court then would be required to notify the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State (frequently called the "DMV") that you have been convicted. That conviction would be recorded on your driving record and would count as a conviction for a moving violation. Multiple convictions for moving violations can lead to the suspension of your driver's license.
Speeding in school zone tickets are required to be marked "must appear" by the reporting police officer. Therefore, such tickets require an appearance in court. You are not permitted to dispose of these tickets by mail or by paying a fine "over the counter" at the office of the clerk of the circuit court.
Matt Hoffman has over 14 years' experience handling violations for speeding in school zones in Illinois courts. He understands and appreciates the potential penalties that can be imposed if you are found guilty and convicted of this violation. As a former Lake County traffic court prosecutor, Matt is able to identify and exploit legal and factual issues that can greatly benefit the outcome of your case.
Matt appears routinely in the Lake County, Illinois traffic courts located in Park City, Round Lake Beach, Mundelein and Waukegan, in the Cook County, Illinois traffic courts located in Rolling Meadows and Skokie, and in the McHenry County, Illinois traffic courts located in Woodstock and McHenry. Frequently, he defends clients who have been charged with speeding in school zones by any of the various north suburban police departments in the metropolitan Chicago area.
Just because you have been charged with a violation does not mean that you are automatically guilty. A traffic ticket is merely an allegation. Because of this, Matt knows that until you either plead guilty or are found guilty, you are presumed innocent of the violation. Thus, in representing you in traffic court, Matt will explore creative solutions for resolving your case, always with an emphasis on protecting your driving record and keeping your driver's abstract as clean as possible. These solutions can include seeking the dismissal of the charge, plea bargaining and negotiating for controlled results or lesser or amended charges, and even trial. Matt has over 14 years' experience as a trial lawyer.
The Law Office of Matthew T. Hoffman P.C. represents clients charged with traffic tickets and moving violations in the Lake, Cook and McHenry County, Illinois traffic courts.
There are many different police departments that forward speeding tickets to the eight local traffic courthouses in Northeastern Illinois for disposition. These courthouses include those located at Park City, Round Lake Beach, Mundelein, Waukegan, Rolling Meadows, Skokie, Woodstock and McHenry. If you were ticketed for a school zone speeding violation within the jurisdiction of any of these eight court venues, it is likely that you were cited by one of the following police departments. The Law Office of Matthew T. Hoffman P.C. defends clients charged with traffic violations issued by these and other area police agencies: