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The Escondido Police Department received a $454,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a one-year enforcement and education program as well as a $25,000 grant to fund a year-long program aimed at improving the safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The money will fund various activities intended to reduce deaths and injuries on California roads.

“Keeping our streets safe for motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians by reducing the number of impaired and unsafe drivers remains a priority for the Escondido Police Department,” Chief Craig Carter said. “Through an ongoing relationship with the California Office of Traffic Safety, we will continue those efforts with aggressive enforcement and public education over the coming year.”

The grant-related activities are for the 2020 federal fiscal year, which runs from Oct. 1, 2019 to Sept. 30, 2020.

The funding from the OTS will be used for numerous programs, including:

  • DUI/driver’s license checkpoints.
  • Patrols specifically looking for suspected alcohol and/or drug-impaired drivers.
  • Patrols targeting violations of California’s hands-free cell phone law and vehicle code violations by drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists and pedestrians that put other roadway users at risk.
  • Patrols targeting the primary causes of crashes: Speeding, improper turns, running stop signs or signals, right-of-way violations and driving on the wrong side of the road.
  • Traffic safety education presentations for youth and community members on distracted and impaired driving, bicycle and pedestrian safety.
  • Serving warrants to multiple DUI offenders.
  • Creating “Hot Sheets” identifying repeat DUI offenders.
  • Officer training to identify suspected impaired drivers and conduct sobriety tests.
  • Bicycle training classes.
  • Educational workshops for youth and older adults on bicycle and pedestrian safety.
  • Educating the public on the importance of safety equipment like reflective armbands, leg bands, headlights, taillights, reflectors and helmets.
  • Participation in national education campaign events and programs such as National Walk to School Day, Bicycle Safety Month, Pedestrian Safety Month and Safe Routes to Schools.

Bicycle and pedestrian-related collisions have been on the rise the past five years. In 2016, 867 pedestrians were killed on California roads, a nearly 33% increase from 2012. In 2016, 147 bicyclists were killed in crashes on California roads, a 14% increase from 2012. So far this year, one pedestrian was killed and 36 injured in the city of Escondido. No bicyclists have died but 34 have been injured in vehicle collisions.

“Getting in a vehicle remains one of the most dangerous things we do,” OTS director Barbara Rooney said. “We must continue to work with our partners in law enforcement to shift that realization and make traveling on our roads safer.”

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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