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Grant will aid traffic safety, enforcement in Turlock
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The effort to improve the overall safety while driving in Turlock is getting a boost from a newly acquired traffic grant for the Turlock Police Department.

The police department was awarded $110,000 from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.

The California Office of Traffic Safety examined traffic reports from 2013 for 103 like-sized cities and ranked them according to the rates of occurrences. Turlock was ranked 31st for collisions that resulted in fatalities or injuries, with 365 traffic collisions. For collision involving pedestrians Turlock was 44th with 22 collisions. Turlock was 40th for collisions involving bicyclists with 28 collisions, and 42nd in collisions involving motorcycles, with 12 collisions.

In 2015, there were 847 accidents in Turlock, an increase of 2 percent from 2014. The number of non-injury accidents was at 571, an increase of 6 percent from the year prior. There were 276 injury accidents in 2015, which is a 2 percent decrease from 2014. In 2015, Turlock saw two fatalities from traffic collisions, which is a 75 percent decrease from the year prior.

The majority of the collisions were a result of right of way violations, according to the Turlock Police Department’s statistics. There were 92 right of way violations cited in traffic collision reports, followed by 88 unsafe turning movements, and 85 unsafe speed citations.

Across the state the rate of traffic collisions has been increasing since 2010, with the number of people killed in collisions climbing 17 percent. California recorded 3,176 traffic fatalities in 2015, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Coupled with that is a six year rise in the number of pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, along with the growing dangers of distracted driving, and the emergence of drug-impaired driving as major concerns for law enforcement.

“Years of research tell us that enforcement and education work best jointly to combat unsafe driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “This grant brings both tactics together, with the Office of Traffic Safety and the Turlock Police Department working in concert to help keep the streets and highways safe across Turlock and the state.”

The police department plans on using the grant to fund a variety of educational and enforcement programs, including: Educational presentations; DUI checkpoints and saturation patrols; Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement; Motorcycle safety enforcement; Distracted driving enforcement; Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement; Speed, red light, and stop sign 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 ,Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement, and Drug Recognition Evaluator.