From the Office of Marty Walt


School Zones and Speeding Tickets

Written by Eric Kneifel.

cell-phone-use-prohibited-in-school-zonesLabor Day has passed, and it's back to school for most children, and school zones throughout the US will be high activity zones from now on. School Zones are bustling with cheery children looking forward to the new school season.

Drivers need to be aware that since schools have re-opened, they now need to be extra cautious in those school zones. For those who need a fresh reminder, school zones have 20 mph speed limits, and failure to adhere to these speed limits can bring about a hefty fine as high as $ 700.

School zone speed limits are mostly applicable during pre-designated weekday hours but that is not always the case. Since these zones are designed to protect children heading to school, their applicable times may differ in accordance with the school’s opening or closing times in that particular area or school district. School zone signs are generally amended to say “When children are present” and that highlights that a school zone limit only applies in the presence of children.

Authorities already understand and are highlighting that the first week of school is always the busiest and the most critical because parents, kids, crossing guards, school drivers, general drivers and commuters are adjusting to the back to school routine and the added traffic flow can create a hazard for anyone, including the added children on the road.

Going a mere 10 miles over the 20 mph speed limit might not seem hazardous at all but in reality these extra 10 miles can be the difference between life and death. Not only that, but you’re looking at a speeding ticket 50% over the limit, which can lead to serious fines. Research has clearly indicated that pedestrians who are in a car crash where the speed of the car was not more than 18 mph have a survival rate of 90%, but a simple increase of 10mph can drop their survival chances down to a meager 50%.

Keeping this in view, different cities have implemented different laws to ensure that school zone speed limit laws are strictly implemented. For example, in the city of Portland, a speeding ticket in a School zone can effectively cost you anywhere from $ 174 to $ 724, depending upon whether the speeding was done in the presence or absence of children in the school zone.

Beyond the concern of traffic ticket prices, an obvious concern should be the safety of others, and your insurance premiums rising if you receive a ticket in a school zone. Different communities across USA and other parts of the world are lobbying for even stricter laws, fines, and penalties in the case of school zone violations. People debate that school violations cannot be taken lightly because it’s the children the future of any community who are being directly affected if a driver fails to adhere to a school zone speed limit and somehow harms a child. These advocacy groups are pushing hard to move school zone violations beyond monetary liabilities and are demanding stricter actions and punishments for the culprits.

Whatever the outcome of these battles may be, it’s important to remember: drive with extra caution in school zones, and obey the posted signs!


Meet the Choices Team - Atina

Written by Eric Kneifel.

atina wieseMy name is Atina Wiese. My dad named me after my mother by spelling her name backwards (Anita).

I have worked for Marty for 6 ½ years. Before that I taught elementary school in the private sector for 7 years. My favorite grade to teach was 5th grade and I loved organizing and taking the kids to outdoor school.

My favorite part of working at Choices is getting to know our clients and being able to help them with their insurance needs. I really enjoy talking with them and sharing stories.

I was born and raised here in Oregon City and (with the exception of the first couple of years of marriage) have lived here most of my life.

My husband and I have been married for 29 years. We have a daughter (23), a son (18), a new son-in-law, 2 cats and an Australian Shepherd puppy – Mollie.

I enjoy cooking, canning, concerts, snorkeling, and I especially love to travel – most anywhere- but my favorite places are Maui, Hawaii and Disneyland, California.


New WreckCheck App for Smartphones

Written by Eric Kneifel.

wreckcheckTo take some of the guesswork out of a tense situation, the NAIC has developed WreckCheck, a new, free mobile app for iPhone® and Android® smartphones. The new app outlines what to do immediately following an accident and walks users through a step-by-step process to create their own accident report. The app directs them to capture photos and helps document and share only what is necessary to file an insurance claim. Users can even email their completed reports to themselves and their insurance agents.

No smartphone? NAIC offers a downloadable accident checklist and tips for staying calm, safe and smart on the road.

For more tips and tools to make sure you are protected in case of an auto accident, visit


Are You Properly Insured for Your Summer Fun?

Written by Marty Walt.

summertimeThe temperature is rising and the sun is shining, but before you put the boat on the lake or get the ATVs out of storage, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) urges you to review your insurance to make sure you are properly protected. Use these tips to review your coverage to make sure you and your family are insured for the increased risks that come with outdoor activities.

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