The Escondido Police Department has been awarded a $510,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries. The EPD will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.
The California Office of Traffic Safety has also awarded the Escondido Police Department a $25,000 grant aimed at reducing bicycle and pedestrian injury collisions. The funded strategies will include classroom education, bicycle rodeos, community events, presentations and workshops. The grant will provide safety equipment such as helmets and reflectors to increase visibility and safety.
“These grants will go a long way to improve traffic safety in the City of Escondido,” said Chief of Police Craig Carter. “We are excited to increase community education and enforcement to make our driving/walking and pedestrian public safer. Please do your part to aid Escondido Police by obeying the law and being courteous to others on the road.”
After falling to a ten year low in 2010, the number of persons killed on roadways has climbed nearly 17% across the state, with 3,429 fatalities in 2015. Particularly alarming is the rise in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities that now comprise nearly 25% 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 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 Escondido Police Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will use these tools to help keep Escondido streets safe.”
Activities that the grant will fund include:
• Educational presentations
• Two full time DUI officers
• 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, EPD 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.