I am very pleased to report that the Irvine Police Department has been awarded a $460,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a yearlong enforcement and public awareness program.
The traffic safety program aims 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. Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
“Traffic safety is of the utmost importance to the Irvine Police Department,” said Irvine Police Chief Mike Hamel. “Our comprehensive traffic safety program includes educational presentations in our schools and our neighborhoods. Efforts such as high-visibility enforcement and sobriety checkpoints aim to stop dangerous behaviors and keep our streets safe. We are grateful to the Office of Traffic Safety for its continued partnership. This grant will bolster our traffic safety efforts,” Hamel said.
“The timing of the award could not be better,” Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox said.
“Chief Hamel and I met just this past week to discuss stop sign compliance and overall traffic safety in Irvine. Our residents are very concerned about traffic safety, especially for their children. Chief Hamel immediately followed through on his commitment to me to increase the visibility and frequency of traffic enforcement, and this grant will really help.”
The grant from OTS will fund various education and enforcement activities through the end of the federal fiscal year, Sept. 30, 2019. Initiatives funded by the grant include:
- 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, and bicycle/pedestrian safety.
- Patrols at intersections with increased incidents of pedestrian and bike collisions.
- Seat belt and child safety seat compliance.
- Motorcycle safety operations in areas with high rider volume and where 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.
In 2016, 3,623 people were killed in collisions across the state, a 7 percent increase from 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Particularly alarming is the rise in pedestrian deaths, with 867 pedestrians killed on California roadways in 2016, a nearly 33 percent increase from 2012. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat dangerous and illegal behaviors such as distracted and drug-impaired driving.
“Almost all crashes are preventable,” OTS director Rhonda Craft said. “Education and enforcement go hand in hand, helping change behaviors that cause devastating crashes.”
Councilmember Fox will hold a Town Hall Meeting on Traffic Safety on Saturday, January 26, 2019, at 10:30 a.m. at Woodbury Community Park. Residents are encouraged to attend and participate in the Town Hall on Traffic Safety with their concerns, questions, and suggestions.
“I am looking forward to a Town Hall meeting focused on traffic safety and making Irvine an even safer place to live and raise a family,” Councilmember Fox said. “In Irvine, we’re proud that community engagement is an essential element of our approach to law enforcement.
A Facebook event page for the Traffic Safety Town Hall has been posted here. Please invite your Irvine friends and neighbors.