PETALUMA — With California showing a 7.6 percent reduction in deaths from alcohol-impaired collisions between 2008 and 2009, the Sebastopol Police Department has received a $29,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety to support a yearlong program combating drunk driving.
“By beefing up our regular patrol staff with grant-funded officers, we will increase the likelihood of contacting and stopping those impaired drivers,” said police Chief Jeff Weaver. “Aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on our roadways, the grant allows the department to focus added attention to such a serious condition.”
The DUI Enforcement and Awareness grant is to assist in efforts to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in alcohol- and drug-related collisions, according to the department. Grant activities will specifically target impaired driving offenders as well as educate the public on the dangers of impaired driving. Driver’s license checkpoints, warrant searches and stakeouts will target repeat DUI offenders.
In 2009, more than 10,839 people died in highway crashes involving a driver or motorcycle operator with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher; 950 of those deaths occurred in California.
In addition to the drop in alcohol-related driving deaths, motorcycle fatalities have also dropped in California. In 2009, 393 motorcyclists were killed, a 29 percent drop from 2008 statistics. However, California remains one of three states that lead the nation in motorcyclist deaths.
Sebastopol 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.
This program is funded by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.