SAN LUIS OBISPO — The County of San Luis Obispo Public Health Department was awarded two grants for a total of $215,000 from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to continue its programs aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on roadways.

The grants will fund best practice strategies to address child passenger safety and pedestrian and bicycle safety in the County. 

“The Office of Traffic Safety grants will provide coordination, collaboration, and education to individuals in the community about the importance of child safety seats, pedestrian and bicycle safety, and the dangers of driving under the influence, with a particular focus on reaching youth and young adults,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “The efforts will help achieve the County’s vision of a healthy and safe community.”

The grants will help address traffic safety problems and reduce the number of persons injured and killed in traffic collisions.

The grants will focus on three areas:

  • Child Passenger Safety — According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most parents are confident that they have correctly installed their child’s car seat. However, in most cases (59%), the seat has not been installed correctly. With this grant, the Public Health Department will work to address this by continuing to offer free car seat inspections and education for all community members, as well as distributing free car seats to low-income residents. Public Health will also provide booster seat use education to kindergarten classes and promote public awareness of the consequences of leaving children unattended in or around vehicles.
  • Pedestrian Safety — According to the 2017 OTS rankings, San Luis Obispo County ranked 41st out of 58 counties in the state for pedestrians injured or killed in accidents. This was an improvement from 2016 when the County ranked 38th. Educational presentations will focus on reaching community members who have shown high rates of pedestrian motor vehicle crashes, such as elementary students and elderly adults, who continue to be a vulnerable population.
  • Bicycle Safety — According to the 2017 OTS rankings, San Luis Obispo County had the fifth-highest rate among California counties for bicyclists killed or injured in bicycle crashes. Education and training will be offered to adult community members as well as elementary school-age children. Public health staff will collaborate with Bike SLO County to provide community education, host bike rodeos when possible, and distribute safety gear such as reflective armbands, lights, and helmets to those in need.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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