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The Santa Maria Police Department was awarded a $385,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a yearlong enforcement and public awareness program that will fund DUI checkpoints, saturation patrols, traffic safety presentations and other activities.

The traffic safety program is intended to educate the public on safe roadway habits and deter people from violating traffic laws or practicing other unsafe behaviors that lead to injuries and fatalities. The grant will fund various education and enforcement activities for the 2019 federal fiscal year, including:

  • DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols to take suspected alcohol/drug-impaired drivers -- and those unlicensed or with a revoked/suspended license -- off the road.
  • Traffic safety education presentations for youth and community members on distracted, impaired and teen driving, as well as bicycle/pedestrian safety.
  • Patrols at intersections with increased incidents of pedestrian and bike collisions.
  • Motorcycle safety operations in areas with high rider volume and where a higher rate of motorcycle crashes occur.
  • Speeding, red light and stop sign enforcement.
  • Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders.
  • Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets” identifying repeat DUI offenders.
  • Specialized DUI and drugged driving training to identify and apprehend suspected impaired drivers.

“Every driver, passenger, pedestrian or cyclist who is a victim of an auto collision is one too many," Santa Maria Police Cmdr. Dan Cohen said in a news release. "Our goal is to take advantage of this grant opportunity and reduce the number of collisions in our city.” 

In 2016, 3,623 people were killed in crashes across the state, a 7-percent increase from 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The grant funding will provide opportunities to combat the dangerous and illegal behaviors associated with distracted and drug-impaired driving.

Funding for the program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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