Drivers should know school times

In all the places I've lived, there have always been flashing lights near schools warning motorists to slow down to the 20 mph speed limit. There are a few of these lights in Medford but not at the schools near my house. There are signs posted but not a flashing light indicating when school is in session. How am I to know when school is in session? I always slow down to 20 mph when I approach a school zone, but many times the drivers behind me swoop past and hit their horn. Do they know something I don't? It couldn't cost that much to install yellow lights that flash when school is in session and the 20 mph speed limit is in effect.

— Lori R., Medford

Lori, if there is a yellow light and it is flashing, your tortoise-like speed is justified.

Under ORS 810.243, these yellow lights only flash at times when children are arriving at or departing from school. If the lights are not flashing, you may proceed at the posted speed limit.

The flashing yellow lights cost a minimum of $5,000 each, and there are only two in Medford, including one on Delta Waters Road near Kennedy Elementary School.

Cory Crebbin, director of Medford's Public Works Department, explained that because Delta Waters is not adjacent to the school, it is not imperative that the school zone speed limit be in effect all day.

At other Medford schools, signs are posted indicating that the speed limit is 20 mph between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. on school days. The city expects drivers to educate themselves on when school is "in session," but, Lori, now that it's summer, it's probably safe to continue at the posted speed limit.


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