Irvine, Calif. – The Irvine Police Department has been awarded a $460,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a yearlong enforcement and public awareness program. The traffic safety program aims 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.
“Traffic safety is of the utmost importance to the Irvine Police Department,” said Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel. “Our comprehensive traffic safety program includes educational presentations in our schools and our neighborhoods. Efforts such as high-visibility enforcement and sobriety checkpoints aim to stop dangerous behaviors and keep our streets safe. We are grateful to the Office of Traffic Safety for its continued partnership. This grant will bolster our traffic safety efforts,” Hamel said.
The grant from OTS will fund various education and enforcement activities through the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2019. Initiatives funded by the grant include:
- DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols to take suspected alcohol/drug-impaired drivers – and those unlicensed or with a revoked/suspended license – off the road.
- 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.
- Seat belt and child safety seat compliance.
- Motorcycle safety operations in areas with high rider volume and where 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.
- Specialized DUI and drugged driving training to identify and apprehend suspected impaired drivers.
In 2016, 3,623 people were killed in collisions 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. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat dangerous and illegal behaviors such as distracted and drug-impaired driving.
“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.