In a new effort to save lives and prevent injuries on our city streets, the Turlock Police Department is expanding their regular traffic enforcement with special operations. These operations are funded by a recent $128,000 grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety. New equipment purchases and special traffic enforcement measures will be instituted by the Turlock Police Department as law enforcement continues their commitment to keeping our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.
Sergeant Neil Cervenka, Turlock Police Traffic Safety Unit Supervisor, said, “Our mission is to prevent collision related deaths and injuries. This grant from OTS will greatly benefit us in carrying out that mission and enhancing the safety of those that use Turlock roadways.”
The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant is to assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions. Traffic deaths from all causes declined in 2009 in California by 10.3 percent from 3,434 killed in 2008 to 3,081 in 2009. The state recorded 950 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2009, a 7.6 percent decline from 1,025 in 2008. However, DUI deaths remain at 31 percent of fatalities.
“Everyone in California should be heartened with these figures,” said Christopher J. Murphy, Director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). “But as encouraging as this is, we can’t let up on the efforts to encourage and enforce traffic safety. Thousands are still losing their lives or being severely injured on our roadways.”
The grant activities will specifically target Motorcycle Safety, DUI offenders, drivers with suspended or revoked licenses, speeding, and red light running. 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 driver licenses get behind the wheel after leaving court.
The grant also provides funding for traffic officer safety equipment, new crime/collision trend tracking software and overtime to conduct special enforcement activities.
New this year is the addition of 2 special Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operations. Motorcycle fatalities have finally turned and dropped in California, following a decade rise in deaths. In 2009, 393 motorcyclist were killed, a 29 percent drop from 2008 statistics. Sadly, California remains one of 3 states that still lead the nation in motorcyclist’s deaths.
Turlock Police Officers will be conducting specialized enforcement efforts throughout the course of the next year. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcycles. Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists, and other vehicle drivers, that result in far too many motorcycle collisions, injuries and deaths.
“More people are making it home safely and alive each day,” said Murphy. “But to keep this trend going, we will continue to strive to meet our vision – Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.