Bill Miranda | Heads Up Reminders for a New School Year

Santa Clarita Councilman Bill Miranda
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It’s back-to-school time in the Santa Clarita Valley as students of all ages return to the classroom this week. A full year of in-person instruction is ahead for our students, as well as the teachers, administrators and staff members who support them each day. This means that not only will there be more cars on the road during drop-off and pick-up, but drivers can also expect to see more pedestrians on sidewalks and crossing intersections, particularly in school zones.
With the start of every new school year, it is vitally important to review the rules of the road and the positive behaviors that make for “Heads Up” drivers and pedestrians in Santa Clarita. By keeping these rules and tips in mind, we can all do our part to ensure the streets in our city remain safe for all users.
Car accidents can occur for a number of reasons, but they are often the result of driving at an unsafe speed. Remember that areas around schools have a 25 mph speed limit when children are present. However, it is best to assume children are present when driving near a school at all times – and in residential areas in general – so reduce your speed and pay extra attention to the road.
Accidents can also happen when someone is distracted. This goes for drivers and pedestrians alike. The Heads Up mottos of “See and Be Seen” and “Disconnect from Distractions” relate to this and remind all residents to focus on one thing at a time.
See and Be Seen speaks to both pedestrians and drivers. If you are behind the wheel, it is incumbent upon you to anticipate pedestrians at crosswalks – even more so when you are in a school zone with an increased likelihood that people will be crossing the street. For students and their parents, See and Be Seen is a reminder to look both ways before crossing and make eye contact with stopped drivers, so you know they have seen you before you continue.
Disconnect from Distractions and put your phone and other devices away until you have reached your destination. Using your phone to talk or text without a hands-free device while driving is against the law in California, and it also takes your attention away from the road.
Walking to and from school while looking down at your phone keeps you from being able to see vehicles when you are approaching an intersection, as well as cars approaching the crosswalk that may not have seen you, creating a recipe for disaster. At the same time, it is important to remove your headphones because listening to music makes it much harder to hear emergency vehicles.
Please talk to your young kids and student drivers to reinforce the good habits that contribute to traffic safety in Santa Clarita. It may seem like second nature, but reviewing your own driving and walking behaviors will also shed light on changes that can be made to be an even better safety role model going forward.
Traffic safety is the responsibility of every resident in Santa Clarita. At this time of year, it is as important as ever to add a few extra minutes to our daily routines so we don’t cut corners when it comes to safety. With children excited to see friends on campus and parents rushing around between pick-up, drop-off and work schedules, it can be easy to have a momentary lapse in judgment. By adding a few extra minutes to our schedules, we can remain calm and take preventative actions that keep our families and others safe.
Please take time to be a heads-up driver and pedestrian and ensure this back-to-school season is happy and safe for all.
Mayor Bill Miranda is a member of the Santa Clarita City Council and can be reached at [email protected]

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