August 21, 2017

Santa Cruz Police Back To School Reminders And Support City of Santa Cruz Street Smarts Traffic Safety Campaign

The Santa Cruz Police Department wants to remind the community that Santa Cruz City Schools will be back in session this week. Chief Andy Mills, as well as commanders, will be out at our local elementary schools greeting the children as they arrive on the first day of school. As part of our commitment to the public’s safety the Santa Cruz Police Department will be conducting an education and enforcement campaign, which is aimed at school zones around the City of Santa Cruz.
SCPD Traffic Units will be looking for drivers that are using cell phones, speeding in school zones, illegally passing school buses, failing to yield at crosswalks, and any other violation that may endanger school children on their way to and from school. The focus is on increasing awareness of ‘distracted driving’ and pedestrian safety. The enforcement will be conducted mainly, but not limited to 7:15 a.m. - 8:30 a.m. hour when children are on their way to school.
“Our number one priority is the safety of our community, including students, parents and school staff,” Chief Mills said. “The new school year is a busy time for families and increases traffic congestion on the roadways. It is important that everyone slow down.” Follow these safety tips to ensure a safe transition back to school.
Back to School Safety Tips for Motorist
• Drivers are encouraged to leave earlier than usual to accommodate increased commute time
• Observe posted speed limits, especially 25 MPH school speed zones
• Watch for crossing guards around most elementary schools who will be stopping traffic so children can safely cross the street
• When dropping off children, please do so in the designated school drop off areas
• Above all, drivers are encouraged to remain patient during any travel delays and remember the goal is for everyone to arrive at their destination safely!
Back to School Safety Tips for Pedestrians
• Never walk while texting. If you need to send a text, move out of the way of others and stop on the sidewalk.
• Always walk on the sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk and you have to walk in the road, always walk FACING traffic.
• Cross only at corners or marked crosswalks.
• Stop at the curb, or the edge of the road.
• Walk in groups, there is safety in numbers. Groups are more likely to be seen by drivers.
• Before crossing the street, stop and look left, then right, then left again. When vehicles are stopped, make eye contact with the driver to ensure they know you are there before proceeding.
• If you see a car, wait until it goes by. Then look left, right and left again until traffic is clear and it is safe to cross.
“Our goal has always been and continues to be the safety of your children, pedestrians, and commuters to and from schools at the beginning and end of each day”, said Chief Mills.

City of Santa Cruz Launches Street Smarts Traffic Safety Campaign
This week the City of Santa Cruz is launching Street Smarts, a new traffic safety campaign with mission to reduce the number of traffic-related crashes and injuries in the City of Santa Cruz. The public education campaign intends to improve the roadway behavior of drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians—everyone who uses Santa Cruz roadways.
Street Smarts public education efforts target City of Santa Cruz traffic-related problems that include speeding and distracted driving. Pertinent messages that also raise awareness of our most vulnerable road users are now posted on banners in front of elementary and middle schools, on street poles, buses and City vehicles. Messages are also being delivered in print and through television and radio broadcast and social media. UC Santa Cruz will be extending Street Smarts messaging throughout their campus community.

The Santa Cruz Police Department will be delivering quarterly Street Smarts presentations open to all City residents.

Santa Cruz City Schools and Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency are partnered with Street Smarts for elementary school assemblies that will be presented in the second half of the school year. The assemblies will be created with middle school students who participate in after-school clubs. Details are available at
Street Smarts officially begins with a family-friendly celebration on Wednesday, Sept. 13, at Kaiser Permanente Arena. Santa Cruz Warriors mascot Mav’Riks, UC Santa Cruz’s Sammy the Slug and California Highway Patrol’s Chipmunk Chipper will lead young and old in activities that underscore safe rules of the road. There will be 15 booths with interactive games, bike valet service, a bike safety obstacle course and one free raffle ticket per person for prizes including Southwest round-trip air tickets, new bikes, free car service, walking shoes, reflective gear and more.

The celebratory event kick-starts the many ways that Street Smarts will help the community contribute to a safer City of Santa Cruz in which to live, work and play.

For more information including free yard signs and bumper stickers available to all City of Santa Cruz residents in English or Spanish, please visit

Special thank you to Street Smarts campaign sponsors: AAA Northern California, Nevada & Utah, AT&T, PG&E, Kaiser Permanente and media sponsors KION 5/46 News Channel/Telemundo 23, Good Times, KSCO and Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District.