The Santa Maria Police Department has been awarded a $115,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a yearlong program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.
The grant will aid in the city’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life. The Santa Maria Police Department will use the funding as part of an ongoing commitment to keep roadways safe through both enforcement and education.
“The Santa Maria Police Department is thankful to the California Office of Traffic Safety for their continued commitment and support toward the overall safety of the citizens within our community,” Cmdr. Kendall Greene said.
The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of people killed and injured in traffic collisions. While traffic deaths from all causes declined by nearly 39 percent between 2006 and 2010 in California, state and federal officials anticipate that figures will show a slight rise in 2011. DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities. Recent trends show increases in two new categories — distracted driving and drug-impaired driving.
Activities that the grant will fund include:
» Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)
» DUI saturation patrols
» Motorcycle safety enforcement
» Distracted driving enforcement
» Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement
» Speed, red light and stop sign enforcement
» Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders
» Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
» Court “sting” operations to cite individuals driving from court after having their driver’s license suspended or revoked for drunken driving
» Stakeout operations to observe the “worst of the worst” repeat DUI offender probationers with suspended or revoked driver licenses
“Despite the recent increases, California’s roadways are still very much safer than they were before 2006,” OTS Director Christopher Murphy said. “The Santa Maria Police Department will be keeping the pressure on through enforcement and public awareness so that we can continue saving lives and reach the vision we all share — toward zero deaths, every one counts.”
Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
— J.C. Valle is a sergeant for the Santa Maria Police Department.