Press release - Reduction in Traffic Collisions

Published 8/10/2009 (all press releases for this day)

OXNARD POLICE DEPARTMENT

PRESS RELEASE

INCIDENT: Reduction in Traffic Collisions
DATE/TIME: August 10, 2009
LOCATION: City of Oxnard
PREPARED BY: Assistant Chief Scott Whitney (385-7751)

DETAILS:  

In 2008, the City of Oxnard experienced a 24% reduction in traffic collisions as compared to the prior year. To date in 2009, we are enjoying another significant reduction; down another 19%. We attribute these successes to many sources. Our Traffic Unit has provided the leadership for a coordinated effort by our entire Department to improve traffic safety. Each Traffic officer is responsible for lowering the number of traffic collisions in his/her beat. The officers are given the discretion to do whatever they need to do to improve traffic safety. Through community meetings and collision data they determine the hotspots in their beats and develop the best strategies to address the problem areas.

One of our common strategies is community outreach. Our citywide public information campaign included a listing and explanation of our top five primary collision factors. The factors are consistent from year to year and beat to beat. They include: unsafe speed, following too closely, unsafe lane change, failure to yield and red light violations. Another common strategy is an examination of particular intersections to see if any possible changes would make them safer. Our Traffic officers meet with the City’s traffic engineer on a regular basis to discuss how these roadways are designed and posted.

We also know that ultimately, enforcement is needed to change behavior. With an emphasis on aggressive and inattentive drivers, Oxnard officers have written a significantly higher number of traffic citations in 2009. Many of these motorists are unaware of the risk associated with their unsafe practices and have become lackadaisical in regards to traffic safety. We’re trying to get the word out that traffic collisions are not accidents and that the vast majority of them could have been avoided.

In addition to publicity campaigns, our officers will also do enforcement campaigns throughout the year. These campaigns will not only focus on particular areas, but certain violations as well. Examples include seatbelt, failure to yield and cell phone violations. While seatbelt compliance is high, we still regularly see preventable injuries as a result of motorists not wearing seatbelts. Cell phone compliance is low throughout the county. If you’ve ever stood in a crosswalk at an uncontrolled intersection, you know that drivers in our county don’t always yield to pedestrians as they should.

In the first 6 months of 2009, our officers have written 11779 traffic citations. This is a 39% increase over 2008 and compares to a total of 8472 citations for the first six months of 2008. The number of driving under the influence (DUI) arrests is also up by 16% so far this year.

Not only is our overall number of traffic collisions lower by 19%, but:

  • injury traffic collisions decreased by 8.5% and 
  • fatal traffic collisions decreased from 5 to 3 in the first six months of 2009.


We will also support this emphasis on traffic safety with better equipment and training for our officers. This equipment and training will allow our officers to more effectively enforce DUI, speed, and other unsafe driving practices. In these challenging economic times, much of this increased effort will be grant funded.

 



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