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Home > Technical Subjects >Traffic Issues >Speed Limits in School Zones

Speed Limits in School Zones

State law is very specific when it comes to the regulation of vehicle speeds through school zones. Although the law has been around for years, some changes in 2001 clarified several issues relative to:

  • What defines a school?
  • Where does the school zone begin and end?
  • What if there are no kids around?
  • What times of day is 15 mph the limit?

Changes made in the 120th Legislature were made under LD 843. This bill was passed as emergency legislation as 2001 PL 145 and became effective on May 14, 2001.

A “school” is defined as "any public or private elementary or secondary school in the State.”, as defined under 20-A MRSA § 6353 (7).

A “school zone” was also redefined under 29-A MRSA §101, 64B and “means the portion of the public highway abutting improved school property or 300 feet on either side of a school entrance, whichever is greater.”

“ Improved school property” now is defined under 29-A MRSA § 101, 28B as “the developed portion of school property including driveways, parking lots, playgrounds, athletic fields or school buildings.”

Speed Limit: except when conditions or other regulations require a lower speed,

Fifteen miles per hour (15 mph) when traveling in a school zone:

  • During recess
  • When children are going to or leaving school during school opening or closing hours. For purposes of this paragraph, school opening and closing hours are 1/2 hour before and 1/2 hour after the beginning of the school day and 1/2 hour before and 1/2 hour after the end of the school day
  • When school speed limit signs are flashing during school opening or closing hours
  • At other times designated by a municipal traffic ordinance that regulates town ways that are classified as local by the Department of Transportation in accordance with the federal functional classification system.


This page last updated on 1/9/13