Getting involved in pedestrian safety-related decision making

Dear Street Smarts, Q: Regarding your recent column saying the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission's Pedestrian Safety Work Group is drawing up a final report for a Caltrans grant, how can we -- the public -- participate with recommendations? Terry L. Swinggi via email A: "The draft of the Pedestrian Safety Work Group’s report will be ready for review by the Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission’s Elderly & Disabled Transportation Advisory Committee at their February 14 meeting," said Karena Pushnik, the RTC's spokesperson. On March first, the final report will be presented to the RTC board for approval, she added. The public is invited to attend those meetings, review the documents online or have them emailed and send in comments to be included in the report. Keep an eye out for the two meetings on the RTC's website at www.sccrtc.org. For information, contact Pushnik at (831) 460-3210. New child safety seat law Parents and caregivers of children age six to eight should not toss out their child's booster seat. Come Jan. 1, state law will require children up to age eight to ride in a car seat booster seat in the rear seat of the family vehicle. Current law says youngsters up to age six or 60 lbs must use car seats or booster seats. The new law also states that children age eight or older who are not tall enough for the seat belt to fit properly must ride in a booster or car seat. “This is an important new law that will impact more than 1.1 million children in California,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety. “Keeping them in booster seats increases their chance of surviving a crash by 45 percent.” Adults caught driving with children not properly restrained in their vehicle will receive a ticket of more than $475 and receive a violation point on their driving record. In contrast, low back boosters, which boost children up to make the adult sizes seat belt fit safely around their child-sized bodies, cost $15 to $20 at major retailers. Adult seat belts fit kids properly when:
  • Children can sit against the vehicle seat back with their knees bent without slouching and can comfortably stay in this position throughout the trip
  • The lap belt is low on the hips touching the upper thighs and
  • The shoulder belt crosses the chest, not the face or neck
For more information, visit www.santacruzhealth.org/phealth/family/3seatsforkids.htm or call 454-5477; www.chp.ca.gov/community/safeseat.html or call 662-0511, www.cdph.ca.gov/vosp or http://www.ots.ca.gov/Child_Passenger_Safety.asp. Bike Traffic School coming Cyclists can learn the rules of the road at the Tuesday, Jan. 10 offering of Bike Traffic School. The course is 6-8 p.m. At the Emeline Health Center in Santa Cruz. Cost is $35. Registration is required. For information, call (831) 454-7551 or visit www.sctrafficsafety.org/BikeTrafficSchool.  
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