Officer Phil’s Corner

POLICE DEPARTMENT , City of Newark                                           

                                   Phil Holland, Police Officer                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             


DATE:           August 23, 2018

TO:                 NUSD Parents & Faculty

FROM:          Phil Holland, Police Officer

SUBJECT:    Driver Safety In and Around Newark Schools


The Newark Police Department in cooperation with the Newark Unified School District will be issuing periodic bulletins stressing safety around schools and general everyday safety tips.  It is our goal to provide this information to as many Newark residents as possible.  During the school year, I will be contributing articles to the school newsletter focusing on safety in and around school campuses.  This article will focus on Driver Safety in and around a NUSD school zone.

The safety of children going to and from school in Newark should be the primary emphasis of all parents, grandparents, school employees and residents.  Thousands of children in Newark  ride, walk and bike to and from school each day.  Their safety depends on all of us.

The California Vehicle Code governs the conduct and responsibility of drivers when operating a motor vehicle in the State.  The Vehicle Code contains statutes relating to the operation, ownership and registration of vehicles (including bicycles) for this article I would like to cover several statutes that have a direct bearing on safety at or near all California schools.

23123 (a) CELL PHONE; Use while driving

Prohibits the use of wireless telephone (cell phone) while driving unless the phone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while talking.


Prohibits holding or operating such devices while driving unless the device is configured to allow hands-free operation.   Sub-section (c) permits such devices while driving only if (1) Device is mounted on a vehicle’s windshield, dashboard or center console and does not hinder driver’s view, and (2) Driver’s hand is used to operate device with a single swipe or tap of the finger.  You cannot hold a cell phone in your hand while driving, even if you are not actively talking or texting. 

23124 (b) CELL PHONE OR WIRELSS COMMUNICATIONS DEVICE by persons under age 18 years

Prohibits cell phone use of any kind while operating a motor vehicle by persons under the age of 18 even if the phone meets the hands-free exceptions listed in the statutes above.

27315 9 (c)(1) SAFETY BELTS

Requires any person in a motor vehicle (except motorcycles) to use a seatbelt or child restraint system meeting federal safety standards to lawfully ride on a highway.

27360 (a) SEAT RESTRAINTS (Child under age 8)

Driver not to transport on a highway, in a motor vehicle, a child under age 8 years without properly securing the child in a rear seat in an appropriate child passenger restraint system meeting federal motor vehicle safety standards.  Section (d) of this statute allows a child under 8 years of age that is 4’ 9” or taller to be restrained by a safety belt.  This requires any child under 8 years of age to be at least 4’ 9” tall to use a seatbelt.

Over the years, I have noticed a dangerous trend with parents who drop off their child in the morning. Some parents are allowing their children to unbuckle or get out of their car seat before the vehicle makes a complete stop.  Recently, in another city, a child was unbuckled and standing between the front seats waiting for the car to stop and the parent had to apply the brakes suddenly.  Although the car was moving slowly, the child was thrown forward and hit their face on the dashboard.  Don’t let that happen to your child, keep them securely belted in their seat until the vehicle is completely stopped.

Avoiding distracted driving caused by talking or texting on cell phones, and the proper use of seatbelts and child safety restraints will go a long way toward enhancing the safety of children in Newark.  Slow down in school zones, stop for pedestrians in crosswalks and always be on the lookout for small children who bike to school.

Pay attention to the school monitors when dropping off and picking up children at school.  The monitors, whether school employees or parent volunteers, are there to help your child arrive and depart safely.  Give yourself extra time and expect a delay during certain drop off and pick up times or inclement weather.

The Newark Police Department will be strictly enforcing traffic laws at or near all of the NUSD schools. Your child’s safety is a priority for all members of the Newark Police Department.



Officer Phil Holland