Councilman Bill Miranda | Protecting the next generation of drivers

Santa Clarita City Councilman Bill Miranda.

As a father and a grandfather, I know the worry and anxiety that comes when teens get their driver’s license. It is even more stressful these days with the abundance of distractions that can take a young driver’s eyes from the road, be it a text on their cell phone, searching for their favorite song on the radio or chatting with a passenger.

These distractions, paired with general inexperience on the road, lead to the fact that the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) estimates that one in five teens will be in a crash during their first year of driving. This terrifying statistic is enough to make many parents hide the car keys. However, I want to offer up another option.

Santa Clarita is teaming up with AAA for the annual “Dare to Prepare Workshop.” This event will be held on Saturday, Aug. 25, from 4:30 to 9 p.m., at The Centre (20880 Centre Pointe Parkway). For pre-drivers ages 14 and 15, this interactive workshop will share potentially life-saving roles and responsibilities before they ever get behind the wheel. This event is free, but please register at I encourage all of you with teenagers on the verge of getting their licenses to sign up and attend.

The tragic aftermath of traffic accidents will be memorialized next month at our Youth Grove at Central Park. The Youth Grove features 106 stumps, each engraved with the name of a local youth who died in a traffic collision and the “forever” age they were at the time of their death.

The stumps, like a tree cut down in its prime, represent the young lives cut short. The Youth Grove was created through a grassroots effort, supported by the city of Santa Clarita and the Blue Ribbon Task Force.

The annual Evening of Remembrance will take place on Sept. 5, at 6:30 p.m., in the Youth Grove. During the evening the 106 names of Santa Clarita youth who have lost their lives in traffic-related incidents will be read as family, friends and the community reflect and remember.

The Evening of Remembrance also includes a Walk of Remembrance. This community walk gives neighbors a chance to come together to show support for families who have lost loved ones.

Both of these events will help bring to light the grave importance of driving distraction-free and following the rules of the road — a life lesson that all of us should remember, every single time we get behind the wheel.

Bill Miranda is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected].

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