Rodriguez Introduces Legislation to Expand School Safety Zones

For immediate release:

Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez has joined forces with the Safe Routes to School National Partnership to introduce AB 1659 which would extend the boundaries of school safety zones. Under the legislation, school zones would be extended to a quarter-mile from the school grounds and would grant local jurisdictions the ability to extend that perimeter up to one mile as needed.

“There are too many incidents of children being hit by vehicles while commuting to and from school,” said Rodriguez. “In Upland, 11 year-old Isaiah Shelton was killed after being hit by a car on his way to school. That tragedy is still fresh in my mind. The current school zone boundaries are insufficient and do not go far enough to protect children who walk and bicycle to school. This bill will give school districts the tools they need to keep our kids safe.”

Current law authorizes a reduced speed limit within 500 to 1,000 feet of a school. AB 1659 would increase that boundary to one quarter-mile (1,320 feet) from a school. In addition to reduced speeds approaching the school grounds, expanding the boundary allows for the placement of additional signage and painted crosswalks to alert drivers that children may be present. The legislation would also give local jurisdiction the authority to expand the school zone up to one mile, based on a traffic engineering survey, in areas where additional safety precautions are needed.

“Last year in Upland, a tragic event occurred. Sadly, events such as these are not uncommon,” said Chanell Fletcher, Senior California Policy Manager of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. “In California, 27 percent of all victims ages five to fifteen are involved in traffic fatalities that result in serious injuries while walking or bicycling. This is nearly twice the national average. Children are the most vulnerable users of our transportation system and we need to protect them at all costs.”

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership advocates for safe walking and bicycling to and from schools, and in daily life, to improve the health and well-being of America’s students and their families and to foster the creation of livable, sustainable communities.

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Assemblymember Rodriguez represents the 52nd Assembly District which includes the cities of Chino, Montclair, Ontario, Pomona and portions of unincorporated Fontana.

CONTACT: Francisco Estrada, (916) 319-2052