City officials launch safety campaign

More than 50 banners will hang from light poles above Brand Boulevard as part of a month-long campaign to remind motorists about the dangers of distracted driving as well as leaving children, pets and seniors in a car on a hot day.

The banners bear illustrations and two messages: "Watch the Road" and "Not Even for a Minute," referring to the short amount of time it takes to do great harm to a loved one who's left in a locked car in the heat.

"In as little as 10 minutes, the temperature in a vehicle can rise as many as 20 degrees, which turns that 90-degree outside temperature to 110 degrees," said Glendale Fire Chief Harold Scoggins during a press conference outside the Alex Theatre on Friday. "Not many people can last that long in a hot car."

Scoggins was joined by Glendale Police Chief Robert Castro, who talked about the importance of drivers always keeping their eyes on the road and being mindful of pedestrians and bicyclists, as well as avoiding activities such as chatting on a cellphone or texting while driving.

"We want to get the word out to remind people that these types of tragedies are absolutely avoidable," Castro said. "We can put an end to these types of fatalities if we can all just work together to not be distracted and to watch the road while we're driving."

Two pedestrian fatalities have been reported so far this year with both of the victims being 86-year-old men.

Glendale Mayor Zareh Sinanyan also spoke during the press conference and echoed Castro's statement about personal responsibility.

"The Glendale Police Department is doing everything it can to enforce efficiently," Sinanyan said. "[The city] has to do everything to make sure there's enough education out there about the dangers of driving fast or carelessly."

The banners — based on a prize-winning design by Varand Aghakhani, who graduated from Clark Magnet High School in June — will remain hanging through Sept. 18.

The campaign was organized by the Glendale Sunrise Rotary Club, which announced a series of upcoming events related to safety, said Keith Sorem, a local Realtor and public relations director for the organization.

One of the events is a free infant CPR seminar from 6 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday at USC-Verdugo Hills Hospital.

Sorem said a live demonstration involving a hot car will be held sometime by the end of August.

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