CMPD Receives Traffic Safety Grant
In a press release today the Costa Mesa Police Department announced the receipt of very significant grant funding from the Office of Traffic Safety to be used to improve traffic safety in our city. I've published the text of that press release below, but the titles and emphasis is mine.
GOOD NEWS FOR US ALL
This is more good news for the residents of Costa Mesa and the visitors to our city. At a time when the CMPD is trying to find ways to continue to provide excellent service to our community despite severe staff reductions imposed by the current City Council, grants such as this one help maximize the effectiveness of our resources.
PRESS RELEASE TEXT:
NEW EQUIPMENT AND ENFORCEMENT MEASURES
Costa Mesa Police Department has been awarded a new traffic safety grant for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways. The $183,448 grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to Costa Mesa will aid in the city’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life. New equipment purchases and special traffic enforcement measures will be instituted by the Costa Mesa Police Department as part of an on-going commitment to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.
CHIEF GAZSI SIGNS IN
“The Costa Mesa Community and Police Department are grateful for the ongoing support from the Office of Traffic Safety in supporting our DUI enforcement endeavors,” said Costa Mesa Police Chief Tom Gazsi. “We do believe that these valuable programs save lives and help in educating the community.”The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of person skilled and injured in traffic collisions. Traffic deaths from all causes declined in California by 11.9 percent, from 3,081 killed in 2009 to 2,715 in 2010. While alcohol impaired deaths saw a sharp decline last year, DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at more than 30 percent of traffic fatalities.
The grant activities will specifically target DUI offenders, Motorcycle Safety, drivers with suspended or revoked licenses, red light running, speeding, and seatbelt violations. This will be done through the use of DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, special enforcement operations, and court stings where DUI offenders with suspended or revoked licenses get behind the wheel after leaving court.
KEEPING THE PRESSURE ON
“Thanks to the dedicated hard work of agencies like the Costa Mesa Police Department, California has the fewest traffic fatalities since 1944,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “While this is good news,we know that only by keeping the pressure on through enforcement and public awareness can we hope to sustain these declines and save lives.”
DUI/Drivers License Checkpoints are a key component of the grant. These highly visible, widely publicized events are meant to deter impaired driving, not to increase arrests. Research shows that crashes involving alcohol drop by an average of 20 percent when well-publicized checkpoints are conducted often enough. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent.
This grant also provides drug impairment training to help combat the increasing problem of drivers under the influence of legal and illegal substances. Grant funding will allow 2 officers to receive specialized training to detect impaired drivers under the influence of legal and illegal drugs. This training will provide on-the-spot assessment of drivers suspected of drug impairment.
For a third year in a row, at least 2 special motorcycle safety enforcement operations will be conducted as part of the grant. Motorcycle fatalities have finally dropped in California, following a decade long rise in deaths. In 2010, 353 motorcyclists were killed, a 37 percent drop from the all time high for California in 2008.
EIGHT MONTHS OF SPECIAL ENFORCEMENT
Costa Mesa Police Officers will be conducting specialized enforcement efforts throughout the next eight months. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas and events where motorcycle crashes and incidents have occurred. Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations made by regular vehicle drivers and motorcyclists that result in far too many motorcycle collisions, injuries and deaths.
LOOKING FOR ZERO DEATHS
“We are on the right path with declining fatalities,” said Murphy. “We have to stick to that path so that some day we can reach the vision we all share – Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”
OTS VIA NTSA
Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.