If you drive through a school zone on a weekend in New York State, can you get a ticket if you go above the school zone speed limit? I always wonder if I can get a ticket, even though school isn't in session. Of course, no person in their right mind wants to speed through a school zone when children may be crossing the street, or even walking along the sidewalk. But what happens on weekends or evenings, when school is out?

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Are School Zone Cameras Legal In New York State?

A lot of people were upset when the state introduced its work zone speed enforcement cameras, but school zone cameras were here first. Just over a year ago, Governor Kathy Hochul signed legislation into law that allows school zone cameras in New York City to operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Vehicle and Traffic Law limits the hours of operation for New York City school zone speed cameras from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM on weekdays. This legislation renews authorization for the use of these cameras until July 1, 2025, and amends the Vehicle and Traffic Law to eliminate the limitation on hours of operation.

So, according to the law, the school zone cameras can be used to monitor and ticket drivers regardless of whether school is in session or not,

This bill recognizes the successes of the NYC school zone speed camera program by eliminating the restriction on hours of operation, currently 6:00 am to 10:00 pm on weekdays, to allow the cameras to monitor reckless driving 24/7.

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There are 750 school zones where the cameras are active. It seems like a bit of a money grab since speed monitoring cameras are only permitted in school zones in NYC. It seems like the government is using the cameras for purposes way beyond their intended use since they can't place the cameras outside of school zones (and now work zones). Just my thoughts.

As a matter of fact, in Buffalo, a judge ruled that people who received a ticket from a school zone camera could be part of a class action lawsuit after the city was sued. According to WGRZ, the City of Buffalo received approximately $1.8 million in the year that its school zone camera program was active.

A bill made its way through the New York State legislature to allow Syracuse to use cameras to monitor speeds in school zones. A.6687/S.6632 passed in the Assembly and Senate,

Authorizes the city of Syracuse to establish a demonstration program imposing monetary liability on the owner of a vehicle for failure of an operator thereof to comply with posted maximum speed limits in a school speed zone.

Governor Kathy Hochul signed the bill into law in September of 2023.

Can You Be Ticketed For Speeding In A School Zone When School Is Out?

It depends on where you are driving in the state. With the law that Gov. Hochul signed in effect for at least the next 2 years, you can expect to get a ticket in New York City. Since their cameras can legally operate 24/7, regardless of whether school is in session, you may have a hard time fighting a fine. According to New York State's Vehicle and Traffic law, you cannot drive above a posted school zone speed limit on,

(1) school days at times indicated on the school zone speed limit sign, provided, however, that such times shall be between the hours of seven o'clock A.M. and six o'clock P.M. or alternative times within such hours; or

(2) a period when the beacons attached to the school zone speed limit sign are flashing and such sign is equipped with a notice that indicates that the school zone speed limit is in effect when such beacons are flashing, provided, however, that such beacons shall only flash during student activities at the school and up to thirty minutes immediately
before and up to thirty minutes immediately after such student activities.

According to The Claro Law Firm, the fines are doubled in school zones:

1-10 mph, fine of $90 to $300
11-30 mph, fine of $180 to $600
31 mph and greater, fine of $360 to $1,200
Also, keep in mind, if there is a special event after school hours or on the weekend. In that case, the beacons may be flashing outside of posted hours or cameras may be in use.

**This article is not intended to provide legal counsel or advice.

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