The other day I was driving home and I got stopped by a cop for going 30 miles an hour in a posted school zone. The school was not having summer school classes, the parking lot was empty, and there were no flashing signs to indicate that there was an active school zone. I asked the officer why I was pulled over and he told me I was speeding in a school zone. I told him that there were no classes at that school during the summer so I didn't think that school zones were in effect. He told me that posted school zones are always in effect when they have the hours posted under the posted speed limit. I pointed out that that the school was empty and that I was going the posted speed limit of the street, but that if school was not in session, a school zone is not active. He told me that I didn't know the law on school zones and that because I wasn't speeding, just going too fast through the school zone, he would let me off with a warning.

I don't know the school zone law, so I asked the El Paso Police Department Public Information Officer, Enrique Carrillo, what the law is. I asked if school zones are enforced during the summer months. From his email:

"Only if posted. Some schools run through the summer and those are enforced."

I needed some clarification so I replied, "I got stopped the other day where there were posted signs but no flashing signs and there was no summer school in session. The officer told me that if I see a sign to just obey it no matter what. I pointed out that there was no summer school but he said I needed to go 15 mph regardless."

Carrillo emailed back:

"This is a response from a traffic officer -

“If the sign is flashing or the sign is posted, obey the sign. Some of these schools have the signs up because of extra-curricular activities, i.e. band, soccer practice, football practice, etc…"

So there you have it. If a school zone sign is up, assume that it is active for the hours listed on the sign, whether it's summer or not.

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