Photo of Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley, Massachusetts Police Department

Week of May 31, 2020

A weekly column by Police Chief Steven Wojnar of the Dudley Police Department

As the current COVID-19 situation moves along, interesting questions continue to be raised.  A person asked me about speeding in school zones.  Given the fact schools are closed at this time, does the flashing 20 mph speed limit still apply?
           

Speeding regulations are generally covered by Sections Seventeen and Eighteen of Chapter ninety of the Massachusetts General Laws.  The 20 mph school zone postings are lawfully established in the area of these buildings to warn drivers and encourage them to reduce their speed for the safety of children.  Drivers are given the warning at these signs that the speed is 20 mph, “when lights are flashing.”  Although these are usually active during certain times of the day, there is nothing in place to indicate that school must be in session for a speeding violation to apply.  Schools have many functions and activities outside of normal hours.  These can include concerts, athletic events, summer camps, and much more.  Children and adults could be present, and drivers must observe the proper limits.         

The penalties for violation are controlled under MGL Chapter Ninety Section Twenty.  Generally, the minimum fine for speeding is $50 for the first ten miles over the speed limit.  In addition to this fine, surcharges are added to this amount and earmarked for such places as the Head Injury Trust Fund ($50) and Public Safety Training Fund ($5).  If the speed exceeds 10 mph over the limit, the fines are increased by an additional $10 for each mile over. 
            With the re-opening of the state underway, good weather arriving, and school wrapping up their on-line courses for the summer, more drivers will be out on the road.  Speeding complaints are on the rise.  We are receiving numerous reports from a variety of streets in town.  We will be out enforcing traffic laws and we encourage everyone to watch their speed and drive defensively.  Your cooperation can reduce crashes and injuries.  Thank you in advance for your assistance. 

Thanks again go out to the men and women from my department for their continued dedicated service to the Town of Dudley during this state of emergency.  Thanks also go out to the many Fire and Emergency Services members, public works and government employees, hospital workers, grocery and retail workers, and all other “essential” personnel for their continued hard work and service thorough this situation.  We will get through this and hopefully we will be back in full swing soon, with as limited negative impact as possible. 

Thanks again for your questions and comments.  Please send them to me at the Dudley Police Department 71 West Main St., Dudley, Ma. 01571 or email at swojnar@dudleypolice.com.  Opinions expressed in this weekly column are those of Chief Wojnar only and unless clearly noted, do not reflect the ideas or opinions of any other organization or citizen. 

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