November 8, 2018

Santa Cruz Police Department Receives Traffic Education and Enforcement Grant

The Santa Cruz Police Department has been awarded a $110,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long enforcement and public awareness program. The traffic safety program is intended to educate the public on safe roadway habits and deter people from violating traffic laws or practicing other unsafe behaviors that lead to injuries and fatalities.

“Santa Cruz continues to work towards improving our roadways for all users, and traffic enforcement is a key tool in achieving this. With the OTS grant, the department will focus on school zones surrounding bell times, strategic enforcement at locations with a history of collisions, and nighttime enforcement during weekends targeting driving under the influence.”-Santa Cruz Police Chief Andrew Mills

The grant from OTS will fund various education and enforcement activities for the 2019 federal fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019):

· DUI saturation patrols to take suspected alcohol/drug-impaired drivers – and those unlicensed or with a revoked/suspended license – off the road.

· Patrols at intersections with increased incidents of pedestrian and bike collisions.

· Speeding, red light and stop sign enforcement.

· Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets” identifying repeat DUI offenders

· Specialized DUI and drugged driving training to identify and apprehend suspected impaired drivers.

In 2016, 3,623 people were killed in crashes across the state, a 7 percent increase from 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Particularly alarming is the rise in pedestrian deaths, with 867 pedestrians killed on California roadways in 2016, a nearly 33 percent increase from 2012. Along with the growing dangers of distracting technologies like phones and drug-impaired driving, this grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these dangerous and illegal behaviors.

“Almost all crashes are preventable,” OTS director Rhonda Craft said. “Education and enforcement go hand in hand helping change behaviors that cause devastating crashes.”

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