The California Highway Patrol renewed its $5 million statewide grant last week in its continued campaign to enforce and educate drivers from making the decision to drink and drive.
Los Angeles County, trending similarly statewide, has seen a reduction in the number of alcohol-involved collisions year after year. According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, in 2009 there were 1,146 people killed in alcohol-involved collisions. The following year, in 2010, there were 972 people killed, which represents a 15 percent decrease. Preliminary data for 2011 shows that downward trend is continuing.
Public Relations Officer Rick Quintero of CHP's southern division, based in Glendale, said the grant will not only help them put more officers on the highways to enforce, but also boost its education part, such as their mock driving under the influence (DUI) program for local high schools called "Every 15 Minutes..."
"L.A. is one of the busiest counties in California, maybe the nation," Quintero said on Tuesday. "As a whole, we've seen a decrease in alcohol-related collisions"
The Impaired Driving and Apprehension II grant, or IDEA, will continue through September 2013 in an effort to save lives and reduce the number of people who suffer injuries in alcohol-related collisions.
The IDEA II grant enables the CHP to conduct sobriety and driver license checkpoints, DUI task force operations and deployment of proactive DUI enforcement patrol operations statewide. In addition, the CHP will educate drivers by holding local traffic safety presentations throughout California and implementing a statewide paid media campaign.
Here's the statistics of alcohol-involved traffic collisions from the CHP Southern Division, per the office of communications in Sacramento:Collision YearTotal CollisionsFatal CollisionsInjury CollisionsProperty Damage OnlyKilled VictimsInjured victims2006 4,283 117 1,661 2,505 135 2,469 2007 4,472 114 1,736 2,622 120 2,610 2008 4,067 108 1,543 2,416 121 2,368 2009 3,958 86 1,498 2,374 94 2,260 2010 3,944 69 1,504 2,371 72 2,261 Total
20,724 494 7,942 12,288 542 11,968
"Our goal with this aggressive education and enforcement campaign is to deter drivers from making the poor decision to drink and drive,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow in a press release, noting safety first when getting behind the wheel this holiday season. "And those who fail to heed this warning will be removed from the roadway and arrested."
Funding for this program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.