Evanston police have launched an education and enforcement campaign about a new ordinance that raises the penalty for speeding in school zones.

The ordinance, which took effect Friday, Feb. 26, raises the penalties to $500 plus a $50 penalty paid to the school district. Prior to this ordinance, such violations had been handled under state law, which provides for a minimum fine of $150 with an additional $50 penalty paid to the school district and court costs.

Normal enforcement action using the new ordinance will begin on March 8.

The educational enforcement action includes the issuance of warning citations to school safety zone violators along with a copy of the city press release on the changes.

Each violator will also be advised of the new ordinance and the increased penalty for any future violations of this nature. The warning program does not include reckless or negligent driving behaviors nor drivers involved in traffic crashes.

The new ordinance, like the state statute, requires drivers to slow to 20 mph between the hours of 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. in posted school zones on school days when children are present outside the school building.

The purpose of a school speed zone is to reduce the speeds of vehicular traffic so that a driver has more time to recognize and react to a school child within the roadway, allowing enough distance to avoid an incident. The zones also allow schoolchildren, especially young schoolchildren, to more accurately anticipate vehicular movements to safely cross the street.

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