NEWSLINE ARTICLE FOR ALPINE AND HIGHLAND
The police department has been asked to clarify some possible confusion involving the law as it relates to pedestrians in a crosswalk. The Utah Codes Annotated (Utah State Laws) addresses pedestrians and crosswalks in Part 10 of Title 41, Chapter 6a.
Within 41-6a-1002 there is a distinction of two types of “crosswalks”. They are differentiated as a “crosswalk” and a “school crosswalk”. A “school crosswalk” is one where flashing lights indicate that the crosswalk ahead is primarily used for or by school students and therefore is a “school crosswalk”. A driver’s responsibility to pedestrians within the two types of crosswalks IS DIFFERENT.
In a NON-school crosswalk, the law requires “… the operator of a vehicle shall yield the right-of-way by slowing down or stopping if necessary:
(i) to a pedestrian crossing the roadway within a crosswalk when the pedestrian is on the half of the roadway upon which the vehicle is traveling; or
(ii) when the pedestrian is approaching so closely from the opposite half of the roadway as to be in danger. …
(2) The operator of a vehicle approaching a school crosswalk shall come to a complete stop at the school crosswalk if: (emphasis added)
(a) a school speed limit sign has the warning lights operating; and
(b) the crosswalk is occupied by a person.” (emphasis added)
The difference being when a school crosswalk is functioning as a school crosswalk (indicated by flashing lights and normally a crossing guard present) drivers must yield to a pedestrian when that pedestrian is anywhere in the crosswalk (either side of the roadway). Also, remember the crossing guard is a pedestrian within the crosswalk anytime they are off the curb, on the pavement and within the marked crosswalk.
Within both of our cities there are areas where a driver will turn onto a street between the flashing lights and the crosswalk. Some drivers enter the school crossing without passing the flashing lights. These drivers are still responsible to obey the traffic laws as they apply to pedestrians in the school crosswalk. One example from each city follows (there are other areas in each city):
In Alpine, turning southbound onto Main Street from 100 South; in Highland turning northbound onto 6000 West from 10800 North (the flashing lights are located prior to those intersections due to State required distances for placing the flashing lights).
Hopefully, this information is helpful in understanding the law as it relates to pedestrian’s rights-of way and driver’s responsibilities to pedestrians within crosswalks.
Chief of Police