Message from the Director
The Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) is committed to the effective and efficient administration of traffic safety grant funds to reduce traffic deaths, injuries, and economic losses. California is the national front-runner for innovative and groundbreaking traffic safety programs. Most recently, California leads the nation in addressing such emerging issues as drug-impaired driving and distracted driving. OTS is a thought-leader dedicated to funding results-oriented and cutting-edge programs to help the great state of California accomplish our vision of "Toward zero deaths, every 1 counts."
OTS is also receptive to new ideas. We encourage our grantees and those organizations with which we have not worked in the past to bring us their best ideas for solving traffic safety challenges in their communities. We strive to be customer friendly in all of our programs and work hard to streamline processes and eliminate duplication.
As we move through 2013, I am pleased to report that the federal government announced in December that California DUI deaths in 2011 matched our 2010 all-time low of 774. OTS' 2012 annual California's "Statewide Traffic Safety Survey" showed that drivers ranked cell phone talking and texting as the biggest safety problems on the road. Not surprisingly, cell phone talking and texting were ranked highest by 80 percent of drivers as the most serious distractions on the road. In 2012, OTS commissioned California's second annual "Statewide Observational Survey of Cell Phone Use by Drivers" and found that 10.8 percent of drivers were using cell phones at any given daylight time, up from 7.3 percent in 2011. Although observed cell phone use increases were seen across all age groups, 16 to 25 year olds showed a dramatic rise, doubling from 9 percent to 18 percent. In addition, in 2012, California became the first state in the nation to conduct a "Statewide Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Use by Drivers." The survey results showed 14 percent of drivers tested positive for drugs that can impair driving, while 7.3 percent of drivers tested positive for alcohol. Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol.
On behalf of the entire OTS staff, I extend our thanks to the public, law enforcement agencies statewide, and our partners throughout the traffic safety community for continuing their unwavering commitment and dedication to preventing traffic deaths and injuries in California. Working together we truly are making great strides!
Christopher J. Murphy