Monday, October 15 , 2018, 3:59 am | Fair 54º

 
 
 
 

Santa Maria Police Receive Grant for Special Traffic Enforcement, Crash Prevention

The Santa Maria Police Department has been awarded a $140,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.

The grant received by the city of Santa Maria 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.

“These funds are going to directly impact our ability to remove DUI suspects off the roadway, cite distracted drivers and fund saturation patrols that will focus on removing intoxicated and unlicensed drivers," Police Chief Ralph Martin said. "Santa Maria has seen a rise in traffic fatalities this year and this grant will allow us to deploy additional officers on our roadways, above the routine patrols already in place.”

The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions. While traffic deaths from all causes declined by nearly 39 percent between 2006 and 2010 in California, they rose 2.6 percent in 2011. State and federal officials anticipate that figures will show another rise for 2012. 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

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

— Jesus Valle is a traffic sergeant for the Santa Maria Police Department.

 

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