The California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, has awarded the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department a $1,094,610 grant for a year-long program of special enforcement and public awareness effort to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department will use the funding as part of its contract city’s ongoing commitment to keep the roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,623 people were killed in crashes across the state in 2016, a seven percent increase from 2015. In 2016, 867 pedestrians were killed on California roadways, 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,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Education and enforcement go hand in hand helping change behaviors that cause devastating crashes.”
The grant from OTS will fund various education and enforcement activities for the 2019 federal fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2018 to Sept. 30, 2019). They include:
- Traffic safety education presentations for youth and community members on distracted, impaired and teen driving, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.
- Patrols at intersections with increased incidents of pedestrian and bike collisions.
- Checking for seat belt and child safety seat compliance.
- Motorcycle safety operations in areas with high rider volume and where a higher rate of motorcycle crashes occur.
- Speeding, red light and stop sign enforcement.
- Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders.
- Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets” identifying repeat DUI offenders.
- Probation supervision for high-risk DUI offenders.
- Court “stings” to cite individuals driving from DUI court after license suspension or revocation.
- Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing, Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement and Drug Recognition Evaluator.
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, Sheriff Sniff supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.