Police urge drivers to be alert in crosswalks, school zones as kids head back to classrooms across Utah

SALT LAKE CITY -- Schools are back in session across Utah, and for police that means having to give refresher courses for many drivers going through school zones and crosswalks.

Officers are out in force making sure motorists know the school zone rules of the road.

First, drivers need to come to a complete stop if the school speed limit sign has the flashing warning lights on.

And if there is someone in the crosswalk, drivers must wait until that person is completely across before they can proceed.

Another huge point of emphasis is reminding drivers the school zone speed limit is 20 miles an hour.

One reason for the large police presence this year is a shortage of crossing guards. Tina Martinez has been a crossing guard here in Kearns for a decade and said the job is incredibly rewarding.

"You can watch a kid walk up to the corner [feeling] glum, and just have a short little conversation with them and see them smile," Martinez said. "It's rewarding. I have nothing negative to say about my job: I love it."

Martinez had some assistance Monday from Linda Hobbs. And both said there can be some scary moments when drivers go right through those school zones while they and the children are still in the crosswalk.

But, overall, they encourage anyone with extra time on their hands to sign up to be a school crossing guard.

Meanwhile, Officer Zack Young said he mostly gave out warnings Monday. He said he is just reminding people that school is back in session, and every morning and afternoon there will be a lot of kids crossing the streets around schools everywhere.

"This is a pretty special place and we like to keep the kids protected," Young said.

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