Following Increase in Pedestrian Deaths, LBPD to Use $340K Grant to Prevent Traffic-Related Deaths

Thanks to a $340K grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) will create a year-long program dedicated to special enforcements and public awareness efforts aimed at preventing traffic-related deaths and injuries. Think of it as a state-led Vision Zero effort.

The LBPD will use the funding as part of the City’s “ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education,” according to a post from Vice Mayor Suja Lowenthal.

“We’re grateful to the Office of Traffic Safety for awarding us this grant,” said LBPD Chief Robert Luna in a statement. “The grant will afford us the opportunity to continue our ongoing enforcement and education efforts to improve roadway safety for everyone.”

As we previously noted, after falling dramatically between 2006 and 2010, Long Beach is experiencing a tragic realization: the number of pedestrian killed by vehicles has already surpassed the total number of 2014. Even worse? The year-to-year of June 2013/14 to June 2014/15 has nearly tripled from four pedestrian fatalities to eleven. And the first half of 2015 brought on six pedestrian deaths, an average of one for every month.

This grant funding will “provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk driving, speeding, and crashes at intersections,” according to the City. Surely, we support these efforts; they’re essential if not downright needed to be implemented immediately. 

“Overall, California’s roadways are among the safest in the nation,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “But to meet future mobility, safety, and accessible transportation objectives, we have to reverse this recent trend in order to reach our common goal: zero deaths on our roadways. The Office of Traffic Safety and the Long Beach Police Department want to work with everyone to create a culture of traffic safety across Long Beach and the State.”

Activities the grant will fund include:

  • Educational presentations
  • DUI checkpoints
  • DUI saturation patrols 
  • Motorcycle safety enforcement
  • Distracted driving enforcement
  • Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement
  • Bicycle and pedestrian safety enforcement
  • Speed, red light, and stop sign enforcement
  • Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders 
  • Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders
  • Specialized DUI and drugged driving training such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE)

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

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