CENTERVILLE — School’s back in session and that means drivers need to focus more on kids crossing the street and on regulations governing crosswalks.
Centerville Police Assistant Chief Paul Child said people are out of practice of driving in school zones, and he offered some reminders for driving safely.
Child said one of the biggest problems officers and crossing guards see every year, in Centerville and elsewhere, is drivers who encroach upon a school crosswalk while the crossing guard is still in it.
“When a crossing guard is in a crosswalk, they own it,” Child said. Motorists are not to enter the crosswalk, even if there are no children in the crosswalk at the time.
“Kids are unpredictable,” Child said, “and they can take off running into the crosswalk zone at any time. They don’t think like adults.”
In Centerville, officers are encountering particular problems at intersections in the construction zone at Main Street and Parrish Lane, Child said. There, motorists are making right hand turns without attention to kids in the crosswalk.
“With construction going on, it only adds to the chaos of getting kids to school safely,” he said.
“We’ve also had complaints from our crossing guards of people speeding through school zones, and not paying attention to traffic lights,” he said. The speed limit through a school zone is 20 mph.
Centerville police have also seen motorists driving through school zones while texting or talking on the telephone.
“People are not paying attention and that’s a recipe for trouble,” he said.
Fines for traffic violations in a school zone can get pretty hefty, depending on the offense.
Child said fines approved by the state Judicial Council in May include failure to obey a crossing guard with a stop sign, $115.
Speeding through a school zone, first offense, $108 for 0 to 9 mph over the speed limit; $209 for 10 to 19 mph over the speed limit; and $411 for 20 mph and more over the speed limit.
Fines for a second offense are $108 for 0 to 9 mph over, $344 for 10 to 19 mph over and $749 for 20 or mph over the speed limit. Speeding through a school zone means a mandatory appearance before a judge.
The reduced speed zone for school crossings starts at the point where the speed sign with flashing lights is, to the end school zone sign on the other side of the crosswalk. Crossing a school crosswalk when any person is anywhere in the crosswalk is a $90 fine. This does not require that the person be a crossing guard, Child said.
The Utah Judicial Council is the policy-making body for the judiciary.
It has the constitutional authority to adopt uniform rules for the administration of all the courts in the state.
The council also sets standards for judicial performance, court facilities, support services, and judicial and non-judicial staff levels.