The price of a school zone: It's worth it to slow down

There are 240 good reasons not to speed in a school zone -- if the price is being calculated in dollars.

There's only one good reason not to speed, if the price is being calculated in the life of child who might be saved by a little additional caution.

Both numbers provide good incentives to slow down in the school zones.

Choose your motivation.

Either way, you'll be glad you did.

Yes, 20 mph is agonizingly slow, especially if you're in a hurry. But it's a realistic assessment of reaction times and stopping distances. The laws of physics, which are not subject to Washington legislators, are non-negotiable.

The Legislature has made sure, however, that a speeding ticket in a school zone is equally non-negotiable. In other words, a $240 ticket will cost you $240, even if you take the morning off work to go talk to the judge.

This time of year, morning drivers (especially the eastbound ones) are also challenged by the sun in their eyes.

In a few months, the challenge will be that it's still dark. Both conditions make pedestrians hard to see.

You will also want to be wary of teenage drivers in school zones. For some strange reason, high schools seem to attract 16- and 17-year-olds, most of whom are inexperienced and a some who are prone to showing off.

Perhaps the biggest hazard drivers must overcome, however, isn't the lighting, speed zone or newly minted drivers but distraction in one of its many forms.

So here's the thing -- hang up, slow down, concentrate and take a deep breathe.

The alternatives are just too costly.