Slow down when children are present or not

The beginning of a new school year can be expensive, even it you don’t have to buy books and clothes for your children. In fact, it can be pricey even if you don’t have children.

It’s the time of year when those yellow lights begin to flash overhead and motorists dealing with 112-degree heat forget that summer is over and a new school year has begun. Don’t get caught off guard and nailed with a speeding ticket and fine that typically hovers above $200.

Sometimes I wonder if I should be the one heading back to school, because I can’t figure out those signs that ask you to slow to a crawl “When Children are Present.” The warnings adjacent to schools seem vague and certainly open to interpretation. One child? Two? Day or night?

Some communities responded to complaints about school zone speed limit signage by adopting a single uniform sign, which makes sense. In Milwaukie, Ore., for example, the new signs simply say: Speed limit 20. School days. 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Simple enough.

Clark County School District Lt. Ken Young said local governments have discussed using the same signage, but so far nothing has been done. That is why we have “When Children are Present” signs, flashing amber lights and warnings with specific times when the reduced speed limit is in effect.

The flashing lights seem the most reasonable and straightforward: When the lights are flashing, slow down. Drivers don’t even seem to mind the warnings with specific times, except to complain that the print is small and tough to read on the go.

Studies have shown that the “When Children are Present” warnings, which began to appear around the Las Vegas Valley three years ago, are most effective. Drivers tend to slow down no matter the time of day, wondering whether a child might be behind a tree, around the corner or under a rock.

“It’s always a good thing to slow down when you think children might be present,” said Keith Paul, spokesman for the Henderson Police Department. “It serves as a reminder to drivers, even if they don’t have children, to slow down, look around and pay attention.”

Paul’s city recently introduced yet another sign that says: “Fines are Higher” and “Effective When Children are Present.” Paul said this means fines for motorists caught exceeding school zone limits are higher than regular speeding tickets.

The question in most motorists’ minds is when the reduced speed limit is enforced. Young said children are considered present when they are exiting the school bus or walking to campus in the morning or boarding the bus or walking home in the afternoon. According to Nevada laws, the reduced speed limits are enforced a half hour before classes begin and a half hour after school ends.

For readers who have no children, here is a guideline as to when that might be: High school students typically start classes between 6:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. and leave school between 1:20 p.m. and 2:15 p.m.; middle schools begin between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. and end between 2 p.m. and 2:15 p.m. and elementary schools start between 8:15 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. and let out between 3 p.m. and 3:20 p.m.

Many readers have asked whether they will be ticketed for driving the normal speed limit when school is in session, but no children are visible or, if they are, they are in recess protected by a fence. The answer is no, Young said. If the reduced speed is enforced during classes, the sign will specifically list the hours of enforcement.

The various speed limits can also be confusing, although the municipalities, who determine speeds around schools, are working to make them more consistent.

Speed limits on streets directly adjacent to campuses are typically 15 mph in school zones, which are 300 feet long. Sometimes you might come across a 25 mph sign and wonder why, since no school is in sight. For example, flashing lights signal traffic on Charleston Boulevard to slow down, but the nearest campus is Wasden Elementary School, a block away. Those streets are considered school crossings or common roads used for students walking.

The 25 mph school crossings are mostly controlled by flashing amber signals.

Law enforcement agencies do not determine the fine for speeders; the penalty is handed down by the courts.

The final lesson in Understanding Confusing School Traffic Laws 101 is what the heck to do when a school bus comes to a halt, flashes its red lights and flips out its little stop signs.

This scenario might be familiar: You are headed west and an eastbound bus stops. Your heart pounds, and you tap your brakes. You look around to see what other motorists are doing. You see some drivers stopping, some continuing and some doing the same thing you are doing.

If the bus is traveling on a street that does not have a concrete median, traffic in both directions must stop while students exit the bus. However, on larger arterials that have median islands, oncoming traffic does not have to stop. Students have a “safe zone” if they are crossing the road, Young said.

Unlike speeding fines, the penalties for failing to adhere to these rules are clear in the state law. First-time offenders will receive four demerit points on their licenses and a fine between $250 and $500.

If the second offense is within a year, the driver’s license can be suspended for six months and the same fine range applies.

Third-time offenders within a two-year period will have their license suspended for a year and be slapped with a fine up to $1,000.

School starts Monday. Keep the students safe and your money in your pocket.

If you have a question, tip or tirade, call Adrienne Packer at 702-387-2904, or send an email to Include your phone number.

Multi-agency DUI Strike Team focused solely on arresting impaired drivers
The newly formed DUI Strike Team made up of Las Vegas police officers and Nevada Highway Patrol Troopers have hit the streets looking for impaired drivers. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christmas Tree Inspection
Nevada Division of Forestry employees search for illegally harvested Christmas trees in local lots during the holidays. (Michael Scott Davidson/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
One dead in a suspected DUI crash in east Las Vegas
The crash was reported just before 4:10 a.m. at Washington and Eastern avenues.
Vegas Homeless Remembered
Las Vegas vigil remembers 179 homeless people who died over the past year in Clark County. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
A look inside Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory
Tesla's Gigafactory east of Reno produces the batteries that fuel the company's electric cars. Production has created more than 7,000 jobs, and the campus that includes one of the largest buildings in the world is expected to triple in size by the time it is completed. Tesla Vice President Chris Lister leads a tour of the facility. (Bill Dentzer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Garnet Interchange Ribbon Cutting
The Nevada Department of Transportation celebrated the completion of the $63 million I-15-US 93 Garnet Interchange project. The project includes a modified diverging diamond interchange and a 5-mile widening of US 93.
State Foresters Hunt for Record Trees
Urban foresters from the Nevada Division of Forestry hunt for record setting trees.
Rick Davidson directs NFR satellite feed
Rick Davidson directs the Wrangler NFR's live satellite feed from a production trailer outside the Thomas & Mack Center. (Patrick Everson)
Scott Boras, Bryce Harper's agent, speaks to media at baseball's winter meetings
Baseball agent Scott Boras updates media on the contract negotiations of his client Bryce Harper during baseball's winter meetings at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Dec. 12, 2018. (Ron Kantowski/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Achievement School District
The achievement district faced strong opposition from traditional schools back in its beginnings in 2016. But with schools like Nevada Rise and Nevada Prep, it's slowly and steadily growing. Amelia Pak-Harvey/Las Vegas Review-Journal
Fresno State QB on record-breaking receiver
Fresno State quarterback Marcus McMaryion talks record-setting receiver KeeSean Johnson. Video by Mark Anderson/Las Vegas Review-Journal
The annual 'Shop with a Cop' event at Target
This year’s "Shop with a Cop" event gave about 40 children the chance to shop at Target alongside a North Las Vegas Police officers. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @Bizutesfaye
Melvin Dummar dead at 74
Melvin Dummar has died at 74. Dummar was famous for claiming to have saved Howard Hughes in a Nevada desert in 1967. Dummar claimed to have been left $156 million in Hughes’ will. The will mysteriously appeared after Hughes’ death in 1976. It was dismissed as a fake two years later. Dummar never saw a dime of the billionaire's fortune. Dummar died Saturday in Nye County.
Officer-involved shooting in Nye County
The Nye County Sheriff's Office gives information about a shooting in Pahrump on Thursday night after a man began firing shots outside of his home. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Law Enforcement Active Shooter Training Exercise
Multiple Las Vegas Valley law enforcement agencies held an active shooter drill at the Department of Public Safety’s Parole and Probation office on December 6, 2018. Officials set up the training exercise to include multiple active shooters, a barricaded suspect and multiple casualties. (Katelyn Newberg/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Public memorial service for Jerry Herbst
Archiving effort hits milestone at Clark County Museum
The Clark County Museum catalogs the final item from the bulk of Route 91 Harvest festival artifacts. (John Przybys/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Pearl Harbor survivor Edward Hall talks about his memories of Dec. 7, 1941
U.S. Army Corps Edward Hall, a 95-year-old survivor of Pearl Harbor talks about his memories of that horrific day. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Final Route 91 Harvest festival remembrance objects catalogued at Clark County Museum
The last of the more than 17,000 items left at the makeshift memorial near the Las Vegas sign after the Oct. 1 shootings have been catalogued at the Clark County Museum in Las Vegas. The final item was a black-and-white bumper sticker bearing "#VEGASSTRONG. An additional 200 items currently on display at the museum will be catalogued when the exhibit comes down. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dozier execution timeline
Scott Dozier was set to be executed July 11, 2018, at the Ely State Prison. Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez delayed the execution.
Grand Jury Indicts Constable for theft
A Clark County grand jury indicted Henderson Constable Earl Mitchell. A Las Vegas Review-Journal investigation prompted the criminal probe. The newspaper found Mitchell wrote himself thousands in checks, took out cash at ATMs and traveled on county funds. He faces four felony counts of theft and a county of public misconduct. Mitchell and his attorney could not be reached for comment.
93-year-old WWII veteran arrested during visit to VA hospital
Dr. S. Jay Hazan, 93, a World War II veteran, talks about his arrest during his visit to VA hospital on Friday, Nov. 30. (Erik Verduzco Las Vegas Review-Journal @Erik_Verduzco_
Pearl Harbor survivor struggles in her senior years
Winifred Kamen, 77, survived the attack on Pearl Harbor as an infant, works a 100 percent commission telemarketing job to make ends meet. (K.M. Cannon Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas Metropolitan Briefing 18th street gang
Las Vegas Metropolitan briefs the media on the recent arrests made regarding the 18th street gang.
Man shot in Las Vegas traffic stop had knife, police say
Police said the man fatally shot by an officer during a traffic stop in downtown Las Vegas had a “homemade knife.” Demontry Floytra Boyd, 43, died Saturday at University Medical Center from multiple gunshot wounds after officer Paul Bruning, 48, shot him during a traffic stop. Bruning pulled Boyd over on suspicion of driving recklessly at 7:41 a.m. near Sunrise Avenue and 18th Street.
Catahoula dogs rescued from home in Moapa Valley
Catahoula dogs were brought to The Animal Foundation after being rescued from home in Moapa Valley.
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses in California wildfire
Intuitive Forager Kerry Clasby talks about losses she suffered in California's Woolsey Fire in Malibu in November. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Benefit dinner for Kerry Clasby, the Intuitive Forager
Sonia El-Nawal of Rooster Boy Cafe in Las Vegas talks about having a benefit for Kerry Clasby, known as the Intuitive Forager, who suffered losses on her farm in California’s Woolsey Fire in Malibu. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Former President George H.W. Bush dies at 94
Former President George H.W. Bush has died at the age of 94. He died Friday night in Houston, about eight months after the death of his wife, Barbara.
News Headlines
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like