Historically, the traffic collision rate of Santa Clarita has remained below the state average, but a recent spike in pedestrian accidents has officials increasingly worried about unsafe traffic behaviors in drivers around the SCV.
During the first six months of last year, Santa Clarita had 750 collisions, which is an increase over the previous two years during the same time period, according to officials. The majority of accidents involved speeding, following too closely, failure to yield, distracted driving, unsafe lane changes, traffic signal violations and driving under the influence.
In an effort to lower traffic-related incidents in the area, the city partnered with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and William S. Hart Union School District to host a video contest designed to create peer-to-peer messaging on the topic of distracted driving.
During the “Heads Up” Video Contest, Santa Clarita Valley Middle and High School students created engaging 30-60 second Public Service Announcement videos to encourage their fellow Santa Clarita teens to drive distraction-free and keep roads safe.
Kaitlyn Weir and Dylan Santa Cruz, a team from Valencia High, were named the winners of the grand prize and a $5,000 gift card to B&H Photo Video. Francisco G. Simplicio from Canyon High School secured a $2,000 B&H gift card and second place, while the partnership of Joel Yoon, Josh Orris, Max Lin, Hannah Sullivan, Riley Flynn, Lucas Elzer and Brian No from West Ranch High School finished in third.
City staff reviewed submissions from dozens of district students before naming the winning video, which will screen during ‘First Look’ at theaters in Santa Clarita. Officials said the winning students were awarded $7,500 in prizes “to help the young filmmakers acquire new video making technology to keep the creativity going.”