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August 19, 2022

Grant to boost traffic safety for WPD

WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville Police Department has been awarded two grants, totaling $105,000, from the California Office of Traffic Safety for a year-long program of special enforcement and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries.

“Safety for all, including motorists, pedestrians, and bike riders, who use the city’s roadways is of utmost importance,” Capt. David Rodriguez said. “Our goal is to have no one injured while traveling throughout the city’s roads. By partnering with OTS, we believe we can make a positive impact by lowering the number of people injured or killed on our streets.”

After falling to a 10-year low in 2010, the number of people killed on roadways has climbed nearly 17 percent across the state, with 3,429 fatalities in 2015, police said. The rise in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities now comprise nearly 25 percent of all traffic deaths.

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

Activities that the grant will fund include:

• DUI checkpoints

• DUI saturation patrols

• Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement

• Distracted driving enforcement

• Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement

• Speed, red light and stop sign enforcement

• Bicycle and pedestrian education

• Collaborate with health care providers to promote senior citizen pedestrian safety

• Work closely with community-based organizations at the  neighborhood and community level with an effort to reach individuals

 • Distribution of bicycle helmets at bicycle rodeos, workshops and community events

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

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