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Santa Barbara Awarded Traffic-Enforcement Grant

Police will use the $194,000 from OTS to target DUI violators, speeders and other offenders

More traffic enforcement and safer streets are coming to Santa Barbara beginning this month thanks to a $194,000 grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Increased special traffic enforcement measures are on tap for the Santa Barbara Police Department as law enforcement continues its commitment to keeping roadways safe through enforcement and education.

“Clearly, we take driving under the influence very seriously,” Santa Barbara Police Chief Cam Sanchez said. “DUI is a preventable crime, and arresting DUI drivers will save lives.”

The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant is to assist in efforts to deal with increased traffic safety problems and reduce the number of people killed and injured in traffic collisions. The grant activities will specifically target DUI offenders, traffic enforcement, motorcycle safety and unsafe speed violations through the use of DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, special enforcement operations and court stings where DUI offenders with suspended or revoked driver’s licenses get behind the wheel after leaving court.

The grant also provides funding for overtime to conduct special enforcement activities.

“Every driver and every motorcyclist must get back to the basics: Drive sober, always drive or ride safely, buckle up and we will save lives. It’s just that simple,” said Christopher Murphy, director of the Office of Traffic Safety. “This grant will help Santa Barbara just that much safer of a place to live and work.”

New this year is the addition of special Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operations. Motorcycle fatalities have been on the rise in California, increasing 175 percent statewide in the past decade, from 204 killed in 1998 to 560 killed in 2008.

Santa Barbara officers will conduct specialized enforcement efforts throughout the course of the next year. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcycles. Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists, and other vehicle drivers, that result in far too many motorcycle collisions, injuries and deaths.

Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

— Sgt. Noel Rivas is the traffic/motors supervisor for the Santa Barbara Police Department.

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