The Morgan County Sheriff’s Office takes the safe travel of students in the county very seriously. This includes the proper use of crosswalks by pedestrians and motorists. Sgt. Cory Stark, with the Morgan County Sheriff’s Department, expressed concern about crosswalk safety during the morning drop-off, Wednesday, Aug. 24, the first day of school. He wants to remind drivers and pedestrians about crosswalk safety.
Before school started crosswalk lines were refreshed at Young and State Street, across Young Street in from of the middle school and at the four-way stop by the high school. A new crosswalk has also been added across Young Street by Nebco. Keep in mind it is illegal to pass on the right at an intersection.
According to Utah code 41-6A-1002, in a school zone, a vehicle must come to a complete stop and yield to the pedestrian that is on any part of the crosswalk. Under the same code, a vehicle may not pass another vehicle that is stopped at a crosswalk, this includes using the shoulder to pass or turn.
Sgt. Cory Stark reminds drivers that it is unlawful to proceed through a crosswalk if anyone is in starting to walk in the crosswalk and may not proceed to drive until the pedestrian has cleared the crosswalk.
Another concern is students not using crosswalks. Crosswalks are placed in a specific way that gives the safest crossing of pedestrians to vehicle’s blind spots when turning. In some instances, it is a slight inconvenience to use a crosswalk, but adds only seconds to a student’s travel time and is much safer than crossing elsewhere.
Often when students are being dropped off at the Morgan Middle School, the driver will stop in the road in front of the middle school and the students will jump out darting in front of traffic. Deputy Derek Chalmers asks that vehicles pull off the road when having passengers exit the vehicle with students going to a crosswalk before proceeding to cross the street. Once at the crosswalk, students should activate the flashing yellow light that will indicate to drivers that students are entering the crosswalk.
Starting a new school is a good time for everyone to renew their knowledge about bus laws. While bus drivers do an excellent job safely transporting students to and from school, the community needs to do its part in keeping the students safe. Pam Francis, an MSD bus driver, asks that drivers slow or even stop when the yellow lights start flashing; don’t speed up.
Francis wants drivers to know to never pass a school bus on any side of the bus when the lights are flashing red and the stop arm is extended. Too many times these bus drivers are terrified as they see vehicles drive through their stop signs. Francis said it may only add five minutes to your drive, but it will save a life to follow the laws.
MSD busses are equipped with cameras that take a picture of the license plate which is then turned over to the sheriff’s office. Remember it is Utah law that drivers stop when going in either direction when the red lights are flashing and the stop sign is extended.
“We at the Sheriff’s office will enforce the laws to keep everyone safe, but we know that we can only do so much,” Chalmers said. “I believe education starts with parents talking to their young drivers and educating them to pay attention and be extra cautious around crosswalks, school zones, and school buses.” Remember the speed limit in all school zones is 20 mph.