Escondido, CA
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Escondido police awarded $540,000 in two grants from the OTS

The safety of everyone traveling is the focus of two grants awarded to the Escondido Police Department. A $515,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) will assist in the Escondido Police Department’s efforts to reduce deaths and injuries on Escondido roads, while a $25,000 educational grant from OTS will focuses on the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
“Sadly, each year too many members of our community are injured or killed in completely avoidable traffic collisions.” Chief Ed Varso said. “Driving under the influence, whether it be on drugs or alcohol, continues to be a significant problem in our community. Furthermore, far too many engage in unsafe practices from speeding, to running red lights, to jay walking. Our goal is to improve safety on our roadways and these grants help us do so by funding education and enforcement campaigns.”
The one-year grants are for the 2021 federal fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2020 to Sept. 30, 2021.
The grants will fund a variety of traffic safety programs, including:
• Patrols with emphasis on alcohol and drug-impaired driving prevention.
• Patrols with emphasis on awareness and education of California’s hands-free cell phone law.
• Patrols with emphasis on education of traffic rights for bicyclists and pedestrians.
• Patrols with emphasis on awareness and education of primary causes of crashes: excess speed, failure to yield, failure to stop at stop signs/signals, improper turning/lane changes.
• Community education presentations on traffic safety issues such as distracted driving, DUI, speed, bicycle and pedestrian safety.
• Collaborative efforts with neighboring agencies on traffic safety priorities.
• Officer training and/or recertification: Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE).
• Education workshops geared toward youth and older adults.
• Education on the importance of safety equipment that improves visibility such as reflective armbands, bicycle headlights and taillights.
• Bicycle safety courses.
• Bicycle helmet inspections.
• Distribution of bicycle helmets to those in need following education presentations.
“Grant funds alone cannot make our roadways safer and it is for that reason that I remind our community members to do their part to stay safe. Wear a seatbelt, slow down, stop for red lights, and never drive intoxicated. Through all of these combined efforts we can take Escondido from one of the worse cities of our size for traffic safety to one of the best,” Chief Varso said.
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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