School speed limit zones are designed to protect students as they cross the roads and travel to class. Do you still have to slow down if there are no students?

You've seen the signs, the flashing lights and sometimes, the crossing guard with the reflective yellow vests and bright red hand-held octagonal stop signs. Traffic speed limits are reduced to 25 mph as kids are going to and from schools. Are the laws enforceable even if classes are not in session? Can you get a ticket for speeding when no students are around?

The law seems a bit vague, as there is no mention of days or months.

...a school zone speed can be in effect only from 30 -60 minutes before the first class begins until the beginning of classes; from school dismissal until 30 -60 minutes after the last class; and during the lunch period if students are permitted to leave the school.

Later, the statute does require

If a school is in session year-round, a sign reading "All Year School" shall be posted on the same signpost as and immediately below the school zone sign.

Here's the question: how do I know if school is in session or not? Sure, it used to be that students didn't go back to school until after Labor Day but that has changed a little in recent years. Some Kalamazoo schools are now experimenting with year-round classes. Do I need to know where these are? If there are no buses, am I clear to drive at the posted 35 or 40 mph?

Your best bet is to keep a watch for those school speed limit signs and pay attention for children and buses. If you get the chance to meet a Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety officer in person and find out the definitive answer, be sure to let us know.

We're not helping to pay for your ticket if you get one.

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