The Turlock Police Department has been awarded a year-long grant that is aimed at preventing traffic-related fatalities and injuries.
The California Office of Traffic Safety awarded the police department an $85,000 grant to use for special enforcements and public awareness efforts.
“The Turlock 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,” TPD spokesman Sgt. Russ Holeman said in a news release.
After falling to a 10-year low in 2010, the number of persons killed on roadways has climbed nearly 17 percent across the state, with 3,429 fatalities in 2015, according to the OTS. Pedestrian and bicycle fatalities now comprise nearly 25 percent of all traffic deaths.
The rise of technology has contributed to the rise in fatalities and injuries as law enforcement sees the number of distracted driving increasing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recorded 3,477 fatalities directly linked to distracted driving in 2015.
Turlock has seen more than its fair share of fatal or injury accidents, especially those involving pedestrians, over the past few years. The California Office of Traffic Safety examined traffic reports from 2015 for 105 like-sized cities and ranked them according to the rates of occurrences. Turlock was ranked 49th for collisions that resulted in fatalities or injuries, with 460 traffic collisions. For collision involving pedestrians Turlock was 36th with 30 collisions.
“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. Turlock Police Department, with assistance from the Office of Traffic Safety, will use these tools to help keep Turlock streets safe.”
Activities that the grant will fund include:
• DUI checkpoints
• DUI saturation patrols
• Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement
• Distracted driving enforcement
• Seatbelt and child safety seat enforcement
• Speed, red light, and stop sign enforcement
While alcohol remains the worst offender for DUI crashes, Turlock Police Department supports the new effort from OTS that aims to drive awareness that “DUI Doesn’t Just Mean Booze.” Prescription medications and marijuana can also be impairing by themselves, or in combination with alcohol, and can result in a DUI arrest.