City, sheriff’s station designate April as Distracted Driving Awareness month

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.
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The city of Santa Clarita joined the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and other law enforcement agencies across the nation in designating April as Distracted Driving Awareness month.

“Santa Clarita is consistently rated by its residents and outside organizations as one of the safest and best places in the country to live,” said Mayor Marsha McLean. “It is our responsibility, as a community, to make sure our city remains one of the safest, by avoiding distractions whether we are driving, crossing the street or riding a bicycle.”

This past year, the traffic collision rate across Santa Clarita fell by 14 percent, which marked the lowest on record and the second consecutive year with zero pedestrian or cyclist fatalities.

That has not been the case in 2019, however.

After a pedestrian was killed in a Friday crash on the northbound side of Highway 14, the total count of fatalities has jumped to three, with two pedestrians and one cyclist. Several other injuries in related incidents have also been reported.

On a national view, at least nine Americans die and 100 are injured daily in distracted driving crashes. Distractions causing incidents include: cellphones, dashboards, touchscreens and other technologies, according to the National Safety Council.  

“It is disappointing to see how many drivers the deputies pull over for using their cellphones,” SCV Sheriff’s Capt. Robert Lewis said in a prepared statement. “Each of them know it is not safe and know it is against the law but still do it. The Sheriff’s Department wants to remind everyone that the choice to be responsible behind the wheel is yours.

“You may have not been impacted by distracted driving yet, but it only takes one time to make a decision that could impact the rest of your life. Please commit to being a responsible driver to protect yourself, your loved ones and others sharing the road, whether you are driving in Santa Clarita or elsewhere.”

Santa Clarita’s public safety campaign, “Heads Up,” will once again help push out information to target drivers, pedestrians and cyclists.

“One of the messages we want to drive home right now is encouraging people to use the amenities provided to them,” said City Communications Manager Carrie Lujan about crossing streets on marked crosswalks and using pedestrian bridges. “We urge people to take a few extra steps to ensure a safe crossing.”

She added that the city is scheduled to launch a new campaign by this summer aimed at preventing drunken driving.  

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