Ask the Motor Cop | A clarification of, ‘When children are present’


Question: Jerry, I have a question about the speed limit in school zones. The signs always say, “when children are present.” What does that actually mean? 

— Suzy 

Answer: What a great question, Suzy, and thank you. Drivers must understand that these school warning signs were designed for the safety of children. Let’s talk about it. 

Vehicle code section 22352(b)(2) cvc, when approaching school grounds with a standard (school) warning sign posted, “25 miles per hour when children are present,” is exactly what it means. This would mean while children are going to or leaving the school either during school hours or during the recess period. 

Children are not considered present if separated from the highway by a fence, gate, or other physical barrier while the grounds are in use by children. 

There are some drivers who completely disregard the 25 mph speed limit in school zones, placing children at risk. In the past, I would respond to complaints by crossing guards concerned about the speed problem they were experiencing.  

I recall issuing citations for speeds that were way in excess of 25 mph. Most of these citations were issued with the use of radar. 

I hope I was able to help you with your question. Drive carefully.  

Jerry Schlund, a Santa Clarita Valley resident, is a retired Los Angeles Police Department motor officer with over 24 years riding. He was a certified radar instructor — both laser and doppler — and was instrumental in California vehicle code amendments. He was a traffic school instructor for 25 years. Have a question for the motor cop? Send your questions to [email protected].   

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