The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency (HSA) was recently awarded California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) grants totaling $214,500 to implement programs that emphasize collaboration and community education to improve safety on area roads.
Local traffic data directed HSA to focus on bike and pedestrian safety along with child passenger safety. The most currently available OTS rankings (2014) showed Santa Cruz County was the worst in California for bicyclists being injured/killed.
Santa Cruz County also ranked in the top 10 in all pedestrian categories — 4th for pedestrian injuries/fatalities under 15 years of age, 8th for overall pedestrian injuries/fatalities; and 8th for pedestrian injuries/fatalities aged 65 and over.
Local survey data also show that only 46% of elementary school children observed are safely restrained in their vehicle.
- Hands-on bicycle and pedestrian safety skills training for elementary aged youth.
- Distribution and proper fitting of bicycle helmets.
- Safety events at UCSC.
- School crossing guard needs assessment.
- Child safety seat checkup events.
- Distribution of no-cost car seats to low-income families.
Grant funds also support the Community Traffic Safety Coalition’s Vision Zero campaign, joining communities across the nation and around the world with a goal to prevent all serious injuries and fatalities on our roadways.
Vision Zero considers any loss of life from traffic crashes unacceptable and preventable. The project is currently providing technical assistance to the City of Watsonville as they consider a Vision Zero policy.
Grant funds are being provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.