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Proper Placement of a School Zone Sign

February 20, 2019

A school zone sign is hard to miss since it’s typically bright yellow with a familiar caution warning. These signs should be placed in different areas of the campus where students come in contact with traffic. While each school is different, here are ideas on proper placement of a school zone sign.

Defining School Zones

School zones are not always defined by the physical boundaries of the campus. In some cases a school zone may extend a few blocks beyond the school. Wherever students are present, there should be a school zone sign alerting drivers to be careful of pedestrians and bicyclists. A more generally understood definition is an area within 1,000 feet of a public or private learning institution. So anytime a driver approaches any school, they should be aware that at certain times these areas may be enforced as school zones.

Each state has its own laws about school zones. Penalties for violating Phoenix, Arizona school zone laws can result in a ticket and criminal charge for drivers who exceed the 15 mph speed limit near schools. Speed limit signs help, but drivers need to understand the consequences of speeding in a school zone, so more descriptive signage about penalties may be necessary. Arizona also has special rules about complying with school bus activity and signals.

New visitors or residents to the state can benefit from signs that provide further direction. The purpose of a caution sign is to encourage safe driving rather than scare people away. Since a school zone is often in effect only during school hours, it’s helpful to post these times so that drivers become accustomed to the schedule.

Common School Zone Messages

  • School Bus Stop Ahead
  • Children Playing
  • Pedestrian Crossing
  • Drug Free / Gun Free Zone
  • Student Pick-up and Drop-off Only

Where To Post School Zone Signs

The most important places to post school zone signs are where they are visible by drivers near crosswalks. These signs will not only remind drivers to slow down and watch out for students, they will discourage parking alongside the street in no parking zones. Placing these signs near intersections will give them maximum exposure, but it’s also helpful to post signs in the neighborhood to warn drivers they are approaching a school where there is often foot traffic.

The combination of warning signs and speed bumps can be very effective at maintaining a quiet level of traffic surrounding a school. The US Department of Transportation has found from a study that the use of radar-based speed feedback signs has helped enormously with reducing traffic speeds near schools. These electronic signs warn motorists of their speed and allow for self-regulation.

Safe Kids Worldwide has reported that teens account for nearly half of all pedestrian deaths. In the United States, over 125,000 schools have surrounding roads within a quarter mile, according to driver safety research firm Zendrive. The researcher also confirmed that common unsafe driving practices that lead to accidents include the distractions of talking or texting on a smartphone.

Speeding, rapid acceleration and hard braking all contribute to collisions and are often the result of not paying attention or overlooking caution signs. Clearly, communities must work harder at reducing preventable fatalities and injuries, especially where a high volume of young people gather. Keeping drivers informed about crosswalks and buses with signage helps raise awareness to proceed with caution in school zones.

Better Signage=Better Safety

Strategic placement of school zone signs will help keep traffic near a school under control. For more information about designing or posting a school zone sign, contact Zumar at our Arizona, California or Washington location.

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