Sen. Cannella Announces "There Ought to Be a Law" winners, Introduces Safe School Zones Legislation

Friday, February 28, 2014

State Senator Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) today announced the winners of his “There Ought to Be a Law” contest, where constituents throughout the district were invited to present their ideas for new legislation. Based on the contest submissions of Natalie Rios and Wendi Salpa, high school students from Madera who wanted to create safer routes for schoolchildren to their schools, Cannella introduced Senate Bill 1151 (SB 1151).

Sponsored by the Alliance for Community Research and Development and the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP), SB 1151 promotes safer driving in school zones by enforcing an additional fine equal to the base fine of violations cited in school zones.

“I am very pleased to announce Natalie and Wendi as winners of my ‘There Ought to Be a Law’ contest,” said Cannella. “Both Natalie and Wendi made very valid points in their submissions about reducing the risk of accidents in high-traffic areas around campuses by implementing stricter laws. SB 1151 adds additional fines to school zone violations, deterring drivers from going over the school zone speed limit and ultimately, preventing more pedestrian injuries and deaths.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, California had the nation’s highest fatality rate among child pedestrians aged 4 to 7 years old and the second highest rate among child pedestrians aged 14 years and younger. Additionally, the Federal Highway Administration cites that child pedestrians who are hit by a car traveling at 40 miles per hour have a 10% chance of survival, as opposed to an 85% survival rate when hit by a car moving at 20 miles per hour.

“Walking or biking to school should be a safe way for our children to gain regular physical activity.  Unfortunately many kids face challenges in walking or biking safely to school due to poor community design and limited bike or pedestrian infrastructure.  Although we cannot build sidewalks in every community, we can find solutions to the most dangerous elements that cause injuries in and around school zones; unsafe and distracted drivers,” said Genoveva Islas Hooker, Program Director for CCROPP.  “SB 1151 will help create safe routes to and from school by increasing resources that will help build a safer environment in and around schools; incentivizing walking or biking, while at the same time discouraging unsafe driving around school zones through a double fine for driving violations.”