Irvine, Calif. (Oct. 18, 2017) – The Irvine Police Department has been awarded a $510,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcement and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries. The Irvine Police Department will use the funding as part of the City’s ongoing commitment to keeping our roadways safe and improving the quality of life through both enforcement and education.
“Traffic Safety remains a top priority of the Irvine Police Department. We actively participate in education efforts in our schools, in our communities and through our social media platforms,” Chief Mike Hamel said. “We further enhance the safety on our roadways by organizing sobriety checkpoints. And, our officers regularly engage in directed high visibility enforcement to enhance traffic safety. We are appreciative of this grant from OTS, which will enhance our traffic safety efforts on all fronts.”
After falling to a 10-year low in 2010, the number of people killed on roadways has climbed nearly 17 percent across the state, with 3,429 fatalities in 2015. Particularly alarming is the rise in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities that now comprise nearly 25 percent of all traffic deaths, along with the growing dangers of distracting technologies and the emergence of drug-impaired driving. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as speeding and crashes at intersections.
“Unsafe behaviors account for 94 percent of traffic crashes,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “This grant emphasizes the two most effective ways to change behaviors – education and enforcement. The Irvine Police Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will use these tools to help keep Irvine streets safe.”
Activities that the grant will fund include:
- Educational presentations
- DUI checkpoints
- DUI saturation patrols
- Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement
- Motorcycle safety enforcement
- Distracted driving enforcement
- Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement
- Speed, red light and stop sign enforcement
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, the Irvine Police Department 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.
Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.