Livingston police to start ‘Safe Routes’ school program

A weeklong traffic-enforcement program aimed at helping children get to school safely kicks off here Jan. 6.

Livingston students return to school Jan. 4, according to the Livingston Union School District website.

The Safe Routes to School program is a reminder to motorists that school will be back in session and they need to drive with extra care, Livingston police Chief Ruben Chavez said in a news release.

The program, sponsored by the state Office of Traffic Safety, aims to reduce traffic injuries and collisions.

“As parents and children arrive to their schools, officers will be deployed in the areas to provide visual reminders and to enforce all vehicle code violations,” Chavez said in the release.

The department will concentrate on vehicle-code violations including pedestrian violations, illegal parking, stop-sign violations, use of cellphones, failure to use seat belts and child-safety seats, and speeding.

“The Livingston Police Department reminds all parents that they are the key to making streets safe for children by obeying all laws and being cautious of other drivers,” Chavez said. “In support of the Office of Traffic Safety grant, the department will have additional officers deployed at the schools who will be funded by the grant.”

The nationally known program was first implemented in California in 2007.

Thirty years ago, 60 percent of children living within a 2-mile radius of a school walked or bicycled to school. Today, that number has dropped to less than 15 percent, according to the California Office of Traffic Safety.

The program also promotes healthy living for children by encouraging students to walk or ride a bicycle to school. The idea is to reduce childhood obesity and other related health programs, according to the office’s website.