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Cops Serious About School Zones: Protect a Child & Your Pocketbook

Let's face it. In this economy, the last thing anyone needs is something else to pay for.

Police in Onondaga and Suffolk counties are cracking down on traffic violations in school zones where a 140 percent increase in tickets were given this past year. And trying to get out of a ticket with children walking around is no easy task. Officers are strict. Children need to be safe.

A school zone usually only applies for certain hours during the day - especially times when children are getting on school buses or crossing the street. School zones are almost always posted on signs near a school and marked with flashing yellow lights.

The speed limit can be as low as 15 mph in these zones, and police will not hesitate to pull someone over for speeding that is going even five miles over the limit. The difference between 20 mph and 15 mph doesn't feel like much, so it pays to take a second glance at the speedometer to make sure you're following the law.

There are other ways to get a ticket when driving in a school zone. Many school zones have crossing guards to help children cross the street, and disregarding their instructions can lead to a traffic violation, too.

School buses display stop signs when loading and unloading children. Passing a stopped school bus is another basis for a ticket.

Finally, texting while driving in New York is another easily avoidable infraction.

The fines for a traffic violation in a school zone can be steep - anywhere from $250 to $800. And if the violation is serious enough, someone could even serve jail time.

Whatever your motivation - whether it's keeping children safe or not having to pay for a traffic ticket - you should exercise care to follow the law and keep everyone around you safe while driving through a school zone. So if you're in a rush, try taking a route without a school zone, but always drive safely within the posted speed limit. Being ticketed for failing to give the right-of-way or having a "heavy foot" on the gas can leave the budget-minded driver light on funds. Even worse someone, including a small child, could get hurt.

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