Marianne Favro

Officials Work to Curb Alarming Rise of Crashes on Highway 17 in Santa Cruz

Crashes on Highway 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains have skyrocketed and are up 93 percent compared to five years ago.

The Santa Clara County Fire Department, California Highway Patrol and other agencies in response launched on Tuesday a "Safe on 17" awareness campaign. The focus is on education to cut down on the two most common causes of crashes: speeding and distracted driving.

"The majority of distraction is using cell phones one way or another," CHP Officer Ross Lee said.

Motorists on Highway 17 can expect to see more officers out on the freeway, especially on rainy days.

The campaign also is focused on keeping first responders safe.

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