Contact Street Smarts
School’s in session, slow down
Dear Street Smarts, Q: Can you do a public service announcement regarding driver safety as all our schools open this week to possibly ask people to be mindful, as we have so many children biking, walking, scootering, skateboarding and driving to school -- especially around schools? I am always amazed and saddened when I hear about accidents in front of schools. Sincerely, Kathy Ferraro, Santa Cruz A: You got it: Drivers, the maximum speed limit in school zone is 25 mph when children are present. In some areas, there are signs posted at 10 mph or 15 mph. The reasoning is, the slower your speed, the easier it is to stop quickly should a child suddenly dart out in front of you. School zones are busy places, especially during drop off and pick up times. Driving the posted speed limit or slightly below helps your eyes see everything that is going on and gives your body time to react accordingly. Meanwhile, read this link about meeting and passing school buses: https://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc22454.htm. Q: I worked for the U.S. Forest Service many, many, many years ago in the mountains above Fresno. One day, when we were on patrol in our fire truck, we got a call that the grass was burning about 5 miles from where we were at that moment. We raced down the mountain and found that someone had tossed a cigarette out of their car and started the fire. It was moments from burning into some heavy brush and then into large pine trees. Fortunately, we got there in time. We were really angry that someone threw a lit cigarette out of a car in a forest full of highly flammable fuel. It doesn't take much time, given the right conditions like we have now, to set a whole mountain on fire. Then one day about 20 years ago, while driving on Highway 17, someone in the car in front of me tossed a cigarette out at Lexington Reservoir. I wrote down the make of the car and the license number. That was before cell phones so I had to wait till I got home to call the CHP. Really frustrating. Fortunately, now I can call immediately and hopefully watch them get pulled over. Roland Krevitt via email A: Thank you for your service and your stories about the dangers of tossing a lit cigarette out of a vehicle window. I hope drivers and passengers who smoke take note.