Ask 2: When schools are out for a holiday and the school zone lights are flashing do we still have to go 20 mph?

HOUSTONAt KPRC 2, we’re dedicated to keeping Houstonians informed. As part of our new Ask 2 series, the newsroom will answer your questions about all things Houston.

Question: Frank Nelson’s question brings up a good point when driving through a school zone: When schools are out for a holiday and the school zone lights are flashing do we still have to go 20 mph?

Answer: KPRC 2 reached out to Sgt. Stephen Woodard, with the Department of Public Safety, to help out with this one.

“... this is the best advice I can give any motorist, when you see those flashing lights, it’s best practice to adhere because when you’re used to doing something, it becomes repetition, hey, it’s easy to do. Every time you see those flashing lights, you slow down and adhere. But generally, there are no police officers or troopers or deputies patrolling those school zones at 11 at night or on Christmas morning.”

So that means if Sgt. Woodard sees you driving 30 mph instead of 20 in a school zone on Thanksgiving -- no, he won’t be writing you a ticket.

During the height of the pandemic, we asked Sgt. Woodard about speeding in school zones when kids were mostly learning from home. During regular school hours, not on a holiday, officers will be onsite monitoring school zones even if there aren’t students inside a school building. This also includes summer school. Also, some school zone signage you drive may not have the added feature of flashing lights, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore the alert to slow down.

The fine for speeding in a school zone in Texas is $200 for speeding up to 5 mph above the posted speed limit and well over $300 if speeding more than 30 mph. The ticket for texting in a school zone is $200 where signs are posted.

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