During this week and next, Santa Cruz police officers are strategically positioned around the City in school zones, to remind residents of the lower speed limits, and to heighten awareness of children on sidewalks.
“We will be visible to remind parents, motorists and everyone in our community that your children’s safety is a priority for us. We will have officers present in the school zones during the morning and afternoon traffic patterns. Our goal is to remind drivers to slow down when children are present and to remember road safety rules,” said Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills.
Chief Mills and officers will be out at our local elementary schools greeting children, and their families as they arrive on the first day. “We want to welcome and celebrate all kids to kick off the new school year. There will be plenty of smiles, high-fives, and words of encouragement as students arrive on campus. Our department values the opportunity engage in positive interactions with our younger citizens," said Chief Mills.
Follow these safety tips to be mindful as the start of the new school year always means more traffic and congestion on city streets.
Before classes start, parents should review the drop-off procedures for their child’s school and be aware of the school’s designated bus and loading/unloading areas. According to the National Safe Routes to School program, more children are hit by cars near schools than any other location.
• No Texting/Talking and Driving! It is never a good idea, and always illegal to use a handheld electronic device while driving
• Plan and Be Patient! Plan to leave earlier than usual to accommodate the extra traffic and be patient with other parents and new drivers.
• Slow Down! School zones speed limits drop to 25 miles per hour
• No Double Parking! This blocks visibility for children and vehicles
• Drop Off/Pick Up on the Same Side of the Street as the School! Don't load or unload children across the street from the school
• Carpool! It reduces the number of vehicles at the school
• Stop for School Buses! It is against the law to pass a school bus when the lights are on
• Yield to Pedestrians! Always stop for children or adults crossing the street and for school patrol officers or crossing guards holding a stop sign