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Santa Monica Police Receive Grant to Tackle Rising Traffic Accidents

 
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By Lookout Staff

November 16, 2017 -- Santa Monica police received a boost in their efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries in the form of a $300,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), police officials announced this week.

The grant -- which will fund a yearlong program of special enforcement and public awareness efforts -- comes during a series of fatal accidents this year involving pedestrians.

“The grant will assist the department in performing a variety of traffic enforcement campaigns; improve traffic flow and pedestrian safety,” said interim Police Chief Kenneth Semko.

"Our partnership (with OTS) has been instrumental towards promoting safety and mobility in Santa Monica," Semko said.

The grant will help fund educational presentations, DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols, and bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement.

Other efforts funded include enforcement of laws covering motorcycle safety, distracted drivers; seat belt and child safety seats, and speed, red light, and stop sign violations.

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There were 3,429 people killed on California roadways in 2015, the last year statistics were available, marking a 17 percent increase since the numbers reached a ten-year low in 2010, state officials said.

"Particularly alarming is the rise in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities that now comprise nearly 25 percent of all traffic deaths, along with the growing dangers of distracting technologies and the emergence of drug-impaired driving," state officals said.

"This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as speeding and crashes at intersections."

Pedestrian accidents have been increasing in Santa Monica , resulting in seven deaths this year -- five of them between March 4 and April 3.

The latest death took place on November 5, when a man was fatally struck by a Metro Expo Line train near 17th Street and Colorado Avenue ("Pedestrian Killed by Expo Train in Santa Monica," November 6, 2017).

A bicyclist was struck and killed last month by a motorist who left the scene then returned after being followed by witnesses ("Santa Monica Police Looking for Witnesses in Fatal Crash Involving Bicyclist," October 17, 2017).

Pedestrians and bicyclists account for approximately two-thirds of all severe injuries and fatalities sustained in traffic accidents on Santa Monica's busy streets, Police Department data show. ("The Statistics Behind Santa Monica's Pedestrian Deaths," May 11, 2017).

“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 Santa Monica Police Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will use these tools to help keep the Santa Monica streets safe.”

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

 

 


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