School Zone Violators Face Significant California Penalties


Aug 22, 2012, 13:02 ET from The Allstate Corporation

SACRAMENTO, Calif., Aug. 22, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Drivers unwilling to obey simple driving procedures during back-to-school time should prepare to pay a hefty price. The average cost for disobeying a California school crossing guard's direction is $282 according to an Allstate Insurance Company back-to-school survey of traffic courts across the state. Also this fall, the average cost for passing a school bus flashing its warning lights is $681.

"Back to school time means it's time to remain attentive behind the wheel," say Phil Telgenhoff, Field Vice President of Allstate Insurance Company in California. "Getting caught will cost a lot. So slow down in school zones—not for fear of getting a ticket, but for the safety of children."

Different Costs for Different Counties

The basic fine for these violations is standard across the state--$50 for disobeying a crossing guard and $150 for passing a school bus flashing its warning signals. But additional fees vary and make total costs much higher.

For example, in San Francisco County the fine for passing a school bus flashing its signals has fees and surcharges that make it cost $680. In Ventura County, the costs are comparable while in Calaveras County it's a $589 charge and in Mendocino County it's a whopping $855.

Identical to illegally passing a school bus, disobeying a school crossing guard will put one point on a California driver's license. And the fine grows to $280 total costs for the violation in Santa Clara County, and $290 in Santa Barbara County.

California Superior Courts in the county where the violation occurs ultimately decide how much a driver pays in fines and fees associated with school zone violations.

Five Ways to Avoid Fines

The traffic safety specialists at Allstate offer the following tips for tackling back to school driving: 

  1. Drive cautiously in school zones.
  2. Even if you don't have kids, learn the school zones on your routine routes to work and when running errands.
  3. Watch for children walking in streets, especially where there are no sidewalks. Be wary of parked vehicles where children can dart from between.
  4. Where there are school buses there are children. Be alert around bus stops.
  5. Drive defensively and obey traffic signs and crossing guards.

To gather the data, Allstate Insurance Company surveyed California Superior Courts and their 2012 Uniform Fee & Bail Schedules. The fines, total costs and points listed here are relative to first offense. Recurring offenses generally increase base fines and total costs significantly.

About Allstate

The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL) is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer. Widely known through the "You're In Good Hands With Allstate®" slogan, Allstate is reinventing protection and retirement to help nearly 16 million households insure what they have today and better prepare for tomorrow. Consumers access Allstate insurance products (auto, home, life and retirement) and services through Allstate agencies, independent agencies, and Allstate exclusive financial representatives in the U.S. and Canada, as well as via and 1-800 Allstate®.

SOURCE The Allstate Corporation