The Santa Monica Police Department (SMPD) has been awarded a
$300,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a yearlong program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.
SMPD will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education. “We are thankful for the continued support from the California Office of Traffic Safety. Our partnership has been instrumental towards promoting safety and mobility in Santa Monica.”, said Interim Chief Kenneth Semko. “The grant will assist the department in performing a variety of traffic enforcement campaigns; improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety.”
After falling to a ten-year low in 2010, the number of persons 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 Santa Monica Police Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will use these tools to help keep the Santa Monica 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 Santa Monica 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.