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Idaho School Zones

Idaho State Speed Limits

Idaho State Speed Limits are determined with safety in mind and are assigned based on factors that include location of a roadway, type of district (residential and school, for example), flow of traffic, accident history and more.  

The Idaho Transportation Department has mandated the following state-wide speed limits dictates the following as part of ‘Rules of the Road,’ Chapter 6, Title 49:

No person shall drive a vehicle at a speed greater than is reasonable and prudent under the conditions and having regard to the actual and potential hazards then existing.

Consistent with the foregoing, every person shall drive at a safe and appropriate speed when approaching and crossing an intersection or railroad grade crossing, when approaching and going around a curve, when approaching a hillcrest, when traveling upon any narrow or winding highway, and when special hazards exist with respect to pedestrians or other traffic or by reason of weather or highway conditions.

Where no special hazard or condition exists that requires lower speed for compliance with subsection (1) of this section the limits as hereinafter authorized shall be maximum lawful speeds, and no person shall drive a vehicle at a speed in excess of the maximum limits:

  • Thirty-five (35) miles per hour or a lesser maximum speed adopted pursuant to section 49-207(2)(a), Idaho Code, in any residential, business or urban district
  • Thirty-five (35) miles per hour in any urban district
  • Seventy-five (75) miles per hour on interstate highways
  • Sixty-five (65) miles per hour on state highways
  • Fifty-five (55) miles per hour in other locations unless otherwise posted up to a maximum of sixty-five (65) miles per hour

School Zones are treated with great care in Idaho, and signs/flashing lights will clearly indicate that you are approaching an active school zone.  Idaho has set specific speed limits for school zones, typically 20mph.  A school zone speed limit will be posted within clear sight of drivers.


Fines for Speeding in an Idaho School Zone

Because children generally do not have the ability to navigate traffic or anticipate approaching danger on the roadway, Idaho has deemed it a driver’s responsibility to treat school zones with kitten-gloves and to avoid, at all costs, speeding in a school zone.   For this reason, the newly amended Bill 1361 dictates that:

  • No person shall operate a vehicle in excess of the posted maximum speed limit established for a posted school zone. If a posted school zone speed limit sign includes the words "when children are present," then "when children are present" shall mean whenever one (1) or more children are on the roadway, sidewalk, pathway, road shoulder, in front of school buildings or on adjacent  school  grounds.  The  definition applies  to  children  present  on  the  same side of the street as the school building or across the street from the school building in any direction within the marked school zone.
  • Violation of the provisions of this section shall be an infraction punishable  by  a  minimum  penalty  of  not  less  than  seventy-five dollars ($75.00).


In addition to the $75.00 fine, violators will pay an additional court costs of $41.50, bringing the total fine amount  for speeding in a school zone to $116.50.


The Importance of Child Safety

Children under 10 years of age do not quite grasp the magnitude of the dangers that lurk on roadways.  They are carefree and often engrossed with thoughts of the day ahead, homework, an athletic activity…the last thing on their mind is you and your motor vehicle.  

Statistics show that 76 kids between the ages of 4 and 14 were involved in pedestrian-car crashes in Idaho… and nearly one-third (31 percent) of pedestrians killed were in that same age group.  Idaho urges you, as a driver, to take notice of this innocent population and drive your vehicle with care, caution and concern at all times and especially in the presence of children.


Idaho School Zone Identifiers

Idaho School Zones are clearly marked using one or more of the following identifiers:

  • Flashing Yellow Lights
  • Yellow signs with a child depicted crossing the road
  • A Posted School Zone Speed Limit


While the speed limit may only apply when the flashing yellow lights indicate that a school zone is active, it is still prudent to travel at safe speeds through an inactive school zone.  A school zone often has a playground and/or athletic fields within its vicinity, and children may visit these locations even after the hours indicated on a school zone sign.

It is also important to be aware of school buses and the laws that govern traffic in relation to pick-ups and drop-offs of children:

  • When a school bus is stopped, a red stop sign will be extended and flashing lights will be visible.  Do not pass a school bus that is signaling you to stop
  • On a two-lane road, both following and oncoming traffic must stop and remain stopped as long as the red lights are flashing and/or the stop arm on the left side of the bus is extended
  • On a highway with two or more lanes of traffic traveling in each direction, oncoming traffic is not required to stop when meeting a school bus. However, motorists still are urged to watch for children crossing traffic lanes while on their way to or from the bus

Be alert, be cautious, be aware of your surroundings when traveling through a school zone, whether it is active or inactive.  Take the initiative as a driver to protect children and to keep their environment safe and serene.

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