Grant to help LBPD institute special traffic operations

The Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) is expanding its regular traffic enforcement with special operations funded by a recent $278,000 grant awarded by the California Office of Traffic Safety. Special traffic enforcement measures will include increased enforcement around intersections and traffic lights.
“We have made progress, but there is still much work to be done in order to prevent the tragedies that are caused by impaired and distracted driving,” said Chief Jim McDonnell. This grant enables us to continue educating the public on the perils of drunk driving as well as the importance of refraining from texting and driving and using hands-free devices with cell phones.”
The Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant is designed to assist in efforts to deal with traffic-safety problems and to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions. Traffic deaths from all causes declined in 2009 in California by 10.3 percent from 3,434 killed in 2008 to 3,081 in 2009. The state recorded 950 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2009, a 7.6-percent decline from 1,025 in 2008; however, DUI deaths remain at 31 percent of fatalities.
“Everyone in California should be heartened with these figures,” said Christopher J. Murphy, director of the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). “But as encouraging as this is, we can’t let up on the efforts to encourage and enforce traffic safety. Thousands are still losing their lives or being severely injured on our roadways.”
The grant activities will target DUI offenders, drivers with suspended or revoked licenses, red light running, distracted driving, motorcycle safety, and seatbelt violations through the use of DUI/driver’s license checkpoints, DUI saturation patrols, and special enforcement operations. The grant also provides funding for additional training of officers in driving under the influence detection and enforcement, as well as supervising enforcement operations.
For the second year in a row, special motorcycle safety enforcement operations will be conducted. In California, motorcycle fatalities have finally dropped following a decade rise in deaths. Motorcyclists killed in 2009 numbered 393, a 29-percent drop from 2008 statistics. However, California remains one of three states that still lead the nation in motorcyclist deaths.
Long Beach police officers will be conducting specialized enforcement efforts throughout the course of the next year. Extra officers will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcycles. Officers will be cracking down on traffic violations, made by motorcyclists and other vehicle drivers, that result in far too many motorcycle collisions, injuries and deaths.
“More people are making it home safely and alive each day,” said Murphy. “But to keep this trend going, we will continue to strive to meet our vision– toward zero deaths, every 1 counts.”

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