Preventing Accidents on PCH

Pat Hines, founder of  Safe Moves,  worked with Sandy Days campers on traffic and pedestrian safety at Will Rogers State Beach.

Hines Promotes PCH Safety

By SUE PASCOE

In the crosswalk by Gelson’s parking lot, between Via de la Paz and Antioch, Pat Hines was almost struck by a car. The car was close enough that it hit her purse. She knocked on the window of the car as the driver continued through the intersection. The window rolled down and an irritated woman told Hines, “Can’t you see I’m on the phone?”

Ironically, Hines is the founder of Safe Moves, one of the leading organizations promoting traffic safety education for children and teens.

When the Pacific Coast Highway Task Force received a $150,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety this year (through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration), Hines was tasked with education and outreach for the grant.

The hazards of crossing the street and vehicle safety were hammered home to campers at Sandy Days Beach Camp on August 9, through an interactive play village–and college kids who were volunteering as safety guards and “bad” drivers at Will Rogers State Beach.

At Sandy Days kids were asked to give examples of driving distractions. “The phone”…“Yelling at kids in the back seat”… “Mom putting on makeup”… “Eating and drinking” they shouted.

The kids made it clear that these were not good practices and were told that if their parents were doing them, kids should remind adults to stop.

The kids then practiced walking the streets (laid out on the sand), trying to avoid the cars (cardboard replicas), while crossing intersections.

“They will be the best people to take the message home to parents,” said Hines. “They are our future drivers.”

Every year there are numerous fatalities along PCH, between the McClure Tunnel and the L.A. County line. Most recently two people were killed at Trancas in Malibu on August 3.

“Drinking and speed were involved,” Hines said, noting that debris from the accident hit a biker, who had to be hospitalized. “The road makes little turns here and there and any distracted driving can result in an accident.”

Hines plans to take the “village” and message to children at five other beach camps along PCH. She has also completed a public service announcement, which she describes as “chilling.”

“People who have lost a friend/relative on PCH speak about the deaths and its impact on them,” Hines said.

“PCH is a tough road. People speed, even though the speed limit is only 45 mph.” she said. “There’s so many accidents, so many tourists who don’t know the road.”

One of Hines’ assistants is Will Rose-Hines, who graduated from Chaminade and is now attending Texas State University.

“The kids’ eagerness to learn traffic safety surprised me,” he said. “We are presenting it in a format that’s interactive. We’re not preaching and they’re soaking it in.”

Alex Simoni, a fellow high school friend, who now attends UCLA and would like to be a doctor said, “I see this as preventative medicine. The kids are enthusiastic about learning traffic safety.”

He pointed out that by building a small cardboard city, the kids were better able to understand the techniques needed for safety.

Hines suffered a personal tragedy on PCH, while training for the 1984 Olympic trials with a friend. Latham was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on PCH. The driver was never found, but it gave Hines a new purpose, promoting traffic safety. Shortly afterwards she founded Safe Moves (visit: safemoves.org).

In an earlier article (“Hines Takes on PCH Safety”), Hines said “[Education] is a great way to bring meaning to her death. Not only through my foundation, but to be a part of this safety effort along PCH.”

Kids were taught traffic safety at an interactive village at Will Rogers State Beach with help from (left to right ) Alex Simoni, Will Rose-Hines and Pat Hines.

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