School Zones

Slow Down in School Zones

School Zones

School Zones are areas near marked school crosswalks installed adjacent to school grounds. The crosswalks are normally placed where it is desired for school children to cross at a single location. For elementary school age students these locations may be monitored by a crossing guard or school patrol.

Driving Speed

Washington law, in regard to driving speed in a designated school zone, specifies "Speed 20 miles per hour (mph) when children are present." This reduced speed is in effect 24 hours per day, not just during crossing hours. In some cases the school crossing area may have speed beacons (flashers). At these crossings the 20-mph school zone is in effect anytime these beacons are flashing.


Parking may be removed in the vicinity of school crosswalks to allow motorists to see children and reduce speed slowly, thus minimizing the risk of rear end collisions.


The underlying philosophy for school crosswalk planning emphasizes pedestrian demand. When crosswalks are confined to heavily used locations, motorists are apt to be more alert when approaching them. If we were to install crosswalks in little used locations, drivers would become oblivious to them, and the effectiveness of all crosswalks would be significantly reduced.