Merced Police receives $120,000 grant for traffic death prevention

The Merced Police Department has been awarded a $120,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries. The Merced Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education.

After falling dramatically between 2006 and 2010, the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions has been slowly rising. Particularly alarming are recent increases in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, the growing dangers of distracting technologies, and the emergence of drug-impaired driving as a major problem. This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk driving, speeding, and crashes at intersections.

“Overall, California’s roadways are among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “But to meet future mobility, safety, and accessible transportation objectives, we have to reverse this recent trend in order to reach our common goal – zero deaths on our roadways. The Office of Traffic Safety and the Merced Police Department want to work with everyone to create a culture of traffic safety across Merced and the state.”

Activities that the grant will fund include:
• Educational presentations
• DUI checkpoints
• DUI saturation patrols
• Motorcycle safety enforcement
• Distracted driving enforcement
• Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement
• Primary collision factor vehicle code enforcement
• Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders
• Click It or Ticket for seat belt enforcement
• Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
• Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)
• Stakeout operations to observe the “worst-of-the-worst” repeat DUI offender probationers with suspended or revoked driver licenses

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