Regional Traffic Safety Project in Full Swing
For release January 26, 2005
The traffic safety education project "Street Smarts" has shifted into high gear with community partners posting flyers and spreading the word about the program to help save lives in West Contra Costa County.
The first of its kind in the East Bay, the West Contra Costa Street Smarts campaign was launched last year to educate residents about traffic safety issues, including stop sign, traffic light and school zone compliance and teen and adult DUI and speeding.
Posters, signs and bumper stickers promoting safe driving, walking and bicycling can be spotted at local businesses, bus stops, movie theaters and even on the back of police patrol cars. Volunteers with groups such as the North & East Neighborhood Council in Richmond also are distributing the posters to local businesses and residents.
Project organizers are working to get the program into elementary schools and are developing a component focused on teen driving. They also plan to expand Street Smarts into Bay Point in East Contra Costa County in March, said Nancy Baer, manager of Contra Costa County's Injury Prevention Program which is one of the campaign sponsors.
"It takes a long time to change people's behavior. Right now we're working to make Street Smarts more visible. We're going to build on this to bring traffic fatality and injury statistics down over time," she said.
For example, more children under the age of 15 were hurt or killed in traffic-related incidents in Richmond than any other California city of the same size category in 2002, according to the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). The same year, the city also ranked second out of 45 cities with populations of 100,001 to 250,000 for the overall number of pedestrian injuries with 68 people hurt or killed, OTS reported.
Street Smarts originally was developed by the City of San Jose and the program won the 2004 Pedestrian Projects award from the National Institute of Transportation Engineers. San Ramon and Danville also have implemented the program.
The West Contra Costa Street Smarts Campaign is part of the West Contra Costa Safe Communities Project. Campaign partners include AC Transit, the cities of San Pablo and Richmond, Contra Costa County Public Works, Community Development and Supervisor John Gioia, the North & East Neighborhood Council, the San Pablo Safety Commission, West Contra Costa Transportation Advisory Committee and the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Baer encourages West County businesses, groups and individuals to become Street Smarts sponsors. For more information about contributing or the program, call Nancy Baer at 925-313-6837 or visit: cchealth.org/services/street_smarts/
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