San Luis Obispo County has received a six-figure grant to improve traffic safety locally, and intends to use the money to make things safer for older pedestrians, children who are strapped into car seats, bicycle riders, and those in danger from drunken drivers.
Dr. Penny Borenstein, the county health officer, says she intends to focus on four areas:
- Child passenger safety: Borenstein says studies show that as many as 80 percent of child car seats are used incorrectly. The county will offer free car seats and education for low-income residents, and will train more “child passenger safety technicians.”
- Older pedestrians: San Luis Obispo County ranks fourth among California’s 58 counties in the number of pedestrians older than 65 who are injured or killed in accidents. Borenstein’s office will bring educational presentations to places where seniors gather, such as senior living centers.
- Bicyclists: The county ranks ninth in California in the number of riders older than 15 injured or killed in bicycle accidents. Cal Poly has seen an increase in the number of students not wearing helmets. The county will provide education and training for bicyclists from elementary schools on up, including bike rodeos and bike safety assemblies. It will distribute helmets to low-income students.
- Alcohol and drugs: Abuse of these substances remains “one of the primary collision factors” in the county. Public Health and the Drug and Alcohol Services Prevention Team will join to provide alcohol and drug outreach, including activities for young adults in high school and college.