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Office of Traffic Safety

Moving Forward - 2009

The OTS will continue to serve as a thought-leader for emerging traffic safety issues, funding results-oriented and innovative programs to help us accomplish our vision of helping to save lives. OTS is receptive to new ideas. We encourage our current 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. Future plans to improve traffic safety in California include:


  1. Alcohol and Other Drugs
    • Thirty-one of the “worst or the worst” cities experiencing a disproportionate number of alcohol related crashes plan to conduct 422 DUI checkpoints in 2009 – which is significantly more than the 263 they conducted in 2008 (SHSP Action 1.01).

    • Utilizing OTS Crash Rankings to identify cities with disproportionate numbers of traffic collisions, OTS Regional Coordinators and Law Enforcement Liaisons will contact city representatives to encourage submittal of a grant proposal. (SHSP Action 1.1)
    • Fund 12 County Probation Departments to target repeat DUI offenders who violate probation terms or who fail to appear in court. Funded strategies include intensive supervision, unannounced home contacts and searches, surveillance operations, highly publicized warrant service operations, alcohol and drug testing, and the distribution of “Hot Sheets” to local law enforcement agencies. (SHSP Action 1.3)
    • Fund a statewide DUI Checkpoint Program for Local Law Enforcement Agencies. To promote sustained enforcement, state and local law enforcement agencies collectively serving at least 50 percent of California’s population or serving geographic subdivisions that account for at least 50 percent of California’s alcohol-related fatalities will conduct checkpoints not less than quarterly. (SHSP Action 1.1)
    • Continue county wide and regional DUI Avoid programs to conduct enforcement and media campaigns during holiday periods. A long-term goal of OTS’ has been realized, with 98 percent of the state’s population now blanketed by a DUI Avoid program. A total of 41 counties involving 547 law enforcement agencies and CHP are participating in the program. (SHSP Action 1.1)
    • Through a grant with CHP, award 250 mini-grants to local agencies to conduct the “Every 15 Minutes” program in California high schools. The “Every 15 Minutes” program is a two-day program that focuses on high school juniors and seniors and challenges them to think about the consequences of drinking, personal safety and the responsibility of making mature decisions when lives are involved. OTS is also funding CHP’s teen education program; “Start Smart”. (SHSP Action 6.5)
    • Fund the implementation of “Live DUI Courts” and “Live DUI Sentencing” programs in high schools throughout the state. Conducting live DUI court proceedings in California high schools provides students the opportunity to see up close the consequences of driving under the influence to individual drivers, crash victims and their own local community. (SHSP Action 6.5)
    • Fund the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to award mini-grants to local law enforcement agencies to expand the Minor Decoy Training program and include “On-Sale” premises. Local law enforcement agencies will work with ABC to conduct decoy and shoulder tap operations to reduce youth access to alcohol in the retail environment. (SHSP Action 1.11)
    • Continue funding six “DUI Only Courts” in California. Courts are now operational in El Dorado, Orange, Shasta, Sonoma, Fresno, and San Joaquin counties. Prior to 2008, there were only three DUI courts in California. (SHSP Action 1.5)
    • Continue funding the statewide “Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor” (TSRP) program. The TSRP programs serve five regions in the state: Fresno, Riverside, Los Angeles, San Diego and Sacramento. The TSRP program has established five “resource centers,” a DUI Prosecutor mentoring program; and a specialized DUI prosecution training program. (SHSP Action 1.3)
    • Fund the University of California Davis Medical Center to develop a uniform and consistent system for hospital staff to notify law enforcement upon the arrival of a person who has been involved in a traffic collision in which alcohol may have been involved (11 trauma centers in northern inland California will participate in the pilot). (SHSP Action 1.6)
    • Fund the Department of Motor Vehicles to lead an effort to survey counties with disproportionately low DUI conviction rates to determine corrective action needed to improve conviction rates. (SHSP Action 1.7)
    • Working with the California District Attorneys Association, OTS will fund and coordinate a statewide “Vehicular Homicide Seminars,” in the spring of 2009, for 100 law enforcement personnel and 100 prosecutors from across the state of California who handle misdemeanor or felony vehicular homicides cases. The course coordinated by the California Traffic Resource Prosecutors and law enforcement representatives will assist law enforcement and prosecutors in developing the knowledge and skills necessary to evaluate, prepare, and try cases involving vehicular fatalities. (SHSP Action 1.4 and 1.17)
    • Work with Department of Public Health, Department of Motor Vehicles, and the U.C. Davis Medical Center to revise the form used to report, pursuant to Health & Safety Code Section 103900, lapses of consciousness, Alzheimer’s Disease or other conditions which may impair the ability to operate a motor vehicle safely.
    • Expand adult screening and brief interventions with emergency department patients to include adolescent patients with a positive blood alcohol level at four trauma centers in the greater Sacramento region: Kaiser Permanente in south Sacramento, Mercy San Juan, Sutter Roseville and UC Davis Medical Center. This project will provide adolescent patients who were intoxicated and their parents with a "brief intervention" and resources for treatment in Sacramento County. (SHSP Action 1.9)
    • Continue the “Sacramento County Pilot Program for Brief Intervention of Impaired Drivers” upon their release. The purpose of the “brief intervention” is to create a "teachable moment" for repeat DUI offenders upon release from jail. (SHSP Action 1.9)
    • Carefully review for implementation the priority recommendations of NHTSA’s “Impaired Driving - Technical Analysis of California” report.
    • Promote 30-day vehicle impound programs targeting drivers with suspended or revoked licenses. A component of this effort includes the development of ‘hot sheets’ that will be distributed to local law enforcement personnel to aid in the apprehension of these drivers. (SHSP Action 3.3)
  2. Occupant Protection/Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety
    • Fund the statewide implementation of “Next Generation - Click It or Ticket” (Next Generation CIOT), in which the California Highway Patrol and local law enforcement agencies will migrate from a single two-week well-publicized enforcement mobilization annually to two mobilizations in November and May. In addition, the Next Generation CIOT campaign will promote sustained seat belt enforcement, a program in which state and local law enforcement agencies representing at least 50 percent of California’s population or serving geographic subdivisions that account for at least 50 percent of unbelted fatal vehicle occupants will conduct intensified monthly enforcement efforts during both daytime and nighttime hours. (SHSP Action 4.2)
    • Carefully review for implementation the priority recommendations of NHTSA’s statewide assessment of California’s Occupant Protection Program - for Kids.
    • Continue to focus on increasing seat belt use and public information to educate Californians about the life-saving benefits of seat belt use on each and every ride. Seat belts are the single most effective motor vehicle occupant safety device yet developed for older children and adults. (SHSP Action 4.1 and 4.3)
    • Through grant funding to CHP, 200 communities will receive funding to implement “High School Seat Belt Challenge” programs. The challenge program is designed to raise awareness and promote seat belt use through a good-natured, student run competition on high school campuses. (SHSP Action 4.1)
    • Fund, at “no cost” to cities and counties, “Pedestrian Safety Assessments” (PSA) conducted by engineers with the University of California at Berkeley. PSA’s help improve pedestrian safety within California communities, as the PSA’s enable cities to systematically identify pedestrian safety issues/problems and effective remedial options. Improved pedestrian safety and improved pedestrian infrastructure in turn can lead to enhanced walkability and economic vitality of communities. Twelve PSA’s are planned for 2009. (SHSP Action 8.4)
    • Continue to provide safety helmets and child safety seats to parents and families in need. At the same time, OTS will ensure parents receiving this life-saving equipment have the training necessary to correctly use the safety device.
    • Continue to fund grants that support under-served communities. The risk of being injured or killed in a traffic crash is disproportionately high for members of certain groups as defined by race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and cultural practices. Latinos, African- Americans, and Native Americans are among the most severely affected. Understanding the factors that contribute to these risks is difficult, in part because data that would identify victims as members of these groups is difficult to find.
    • Stay abreast of all the latest technological innovations and think creatively about countermeasures to confront potential traffic safety problems, including the use of evidence-based technologies such as red light running cameras, vehicle speed feedback signs, flashing beacons at school crosswalks, in-roadway warning lights at crosswalks and countdown pedestrian signals. (SHSP Action 8.2)
    • Promote countywide grants that provide funding for traffic control devices such as vehicle speed feedback signs, flashing beacons at school crosswalks, in-roadway warning lights at crosswalks, and countdown pedestrian signals. County agencies submitting proposals for traffic control devices must conduct a comprehensive local needs and problem identification assessment of city and county roadways to justify funding request. (SHSP Action 8.2)
  3. Emergency Medical Services
    • Coordinate the development and implementation of regional emergency medical services programs to ensure rural communities have access to the latest “state-of-the-art” rescue and extrication equipment. Regions will conduct assessments of their area to determine the needs and to provide for the best use of funded equipment.
  4. Traffic Records
    • Funding will be offered to 25 County Engineering Departments to purchase a Traffic Collision Database System. The system helps engineering departments improve safety, data collection, access, and analysis. Additionally, the system does Collision Pattern Diagramming and produces collision location mapping on Google Earth and ESRI GIS mapping products. Twenty-one of the twenty-five counties are considered rural.
    • Continue to embrace automation programs that produce timesaving and operational efficiencies, as part of our effort to utilize technological advances to conduct business and save lives. For example, OTS will continue to provide funding to automate the traffic citation, DUI arrest, and collision reporting processes. These systems greatly enhance accuracy and eliminate the entry of redundant information. Another example of efficient use of technology is the application of automated collision mapping and use of GPS coordinates for collision reports, to pinpoint key problem areas and identify appropriate solutions. OTS staff will assess the use of countywide GIS programs and facilitate efforts to gain countywide programs through OTS grants.
    • To better understand how to prevent Californians from being injured and killed in traffic crashes, California’s traffic safety and injury prevention community needs analyses of both crash and medical data focusing on person-level risk factors and outcomes. Funding has been provided to the California Department of Public Health to better understand current knowledge gaps and to begin working towards integrating data sets like SWITRS, pre-hospital records, emergency department records, hospital inpatient records, and death data. (SHSP Action 16.4)
    • Funding is being allocated to the Emergency Medical Services Authority to update the California EMS Information System (CEMSIS) to be in compliance with, and participate in, the federal data collections systems: National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) and the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB). CEMSIS will be designed to receive both EMS and trauma data electronically from each of the 31 local EMS agencies. Injured patient data will be linked with other data systems to assist state and local efforts in injury prevention related to traffic safety. (SHSP Action 16.2)
    • CHP is finalizing testing of a statewide, external and internal Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) environment that efficiently and effectively automates the request from and response to CHP and Allied Agencies for SWITRS data.
    • Funding has been awarded to CHP to allow for timely, statewide, on-line submission of traffic collision reports to the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) by CHP and Allied Agencies (SHSP Action 16.1).
    • Funding has been awarded to DMV to assess, improve, and monitor the accuracy and timeliness of DUI conviction data submitted to the DMV database by the courts. (SHSP Action 16.6)
    • Research is one of the keys to development of successful strategies to reduce fatal and injury collisions. Currently in California, the Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS) is the primary source of collision data used by public and private researchers. In order to improve the quality of the data collected, OTS and CHP are soliciting and reviewing recommendations for the update of the Traffic Collision Report forms and SWITRS information retention. These recommendations will then be forwarded to CHP for final review and implementation.
  5. Older Driver Safety
    • Continue involvement in the OTS sponsored “Older Driver Task Force,” headed now by CHP, to plan and develop programs to address the needs of the older drivers and pedestrians to decrease crash and injury risks now and in the future. Mobility is crucial to the social, physical and economic health of all Californian’s and one’s driver’s license is a key component. The “baby boomer” generation, those born between 1946 and 1964, is now approaching maturity, which means the number of older drivers will increase substantially.
  6. Motorcycle Safety
    • Carefully review for implementation priority recommendations from NHTSA’s statewide Motorcycle Safety Program Assessment, which was conducted in September 2008, and recommendations from the Motorcycle Safety Summit, which was held in May 2008.

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  • Continue working closely with the Federal Government to ensure California receives its fair share of federal funding.

  • To gain approval from the Office of the State CIO to allow OTS to begin developing and procuring a “Statewide Automated Traffic Safety Grant Administration” (SATSGA) Project as outlined in the Information Technology Capital Plan.

  • Develop an OTS Intranet as a tool to organize and display internal information.

  • Promote the enhanced “Grants Made Easy,” grant proposal application designed specifically for local law enforcement agencies. “Grants Made Easy” significantly reduces the paperwork and time required to submit a proposal and finalize a grant agreement. In addition, “Grants Made Easy” enables OTS staff to significantly reduce the number of days required to process new grants. This innovative grant application process is a direct result of OTS’ Performance Improvement Initiative to enhance efficiency and effectiveness.

  • Continue the Performance Improvement Initiative to streamline the grant application and reporting processes. OTS will look towards conducting as much business as possible over the Internet. Using the Internet as a tool can streamline processes and save valuable time and efforts.

  • Utilize existing staff to conduct internal audit and mapping of processes to identify and implement new efficiencies.

  • Continue to promote the OTS Employee Recognition Program (ERP) to reward employees for their commitment to superior performance. A Peer Group Election will be conducted to select new Peer Recognition Committee members. The Awards Program Coordinator will survey staff to gain feedback on enhancing the program.

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Marketing and Public Affairs

  • In an effort to become “top of the mind” with the media representatives seeking traffic safety information, a “Communication Action Plan” will be produced to identify strategies and tactics to increase the number and reach of opportunities to provide media with previously under-communicated traffic safety messaging. The Communication Action Plan will identify known targets of opportunity as well as a plan for contingencies. The goal is to position OTS as the media’s primary traffic safety information resource.
  • Significantly expand relationships with billboard and commercial changeable message sign companies to highlight OTS-promoted traffic safety messages at greatly reduced or no cost.
  • OTS will host, in conjunction with NHTSA, the biennial Traffic Safety Summit in April 2009 in San Francisco. The Summit is the largest statewide “traffic safety” conference in the nation. This summit is being expanded to include more engineering, bicycle and pedestrian safety programs. The Summit gives traffic safety professionals and OTS grantees the opportunity to share ideas, take an inside look at model programs and meet directly with peers.
  • Spotlight traffic safety programs pioneered or uniquely adapted within California. Effectively communicate the societal benefits garnered from targeting traffic safety practices to local and diverse communities.
  • Develop and implement broad-based and targeted public education programs that not only enlighten, but inspire Californians to engage in prudent traffic safety practices. These efforts will also include campaign specific (e.g., DUI, seat belts, inattention/distracted driving, and teens) advertising, earned media, events and training.
  • Spotlight California’s traffic safety successes and innovative grant programs, strategically linking successful programs and focusing on key program areas that make an easily demonstrated difference.
  • Develop practices and personnel within the grantee frameworks to carry the public education and promotion messages to the local and grassroots level. This will further augment and personalize the broader OTS messages.
  • Conduct comprehensive public awareness campaigns, relying heavily on the media, to promote the “Next Generation - Click it or Ticket” seat belt enforcement effort in November and May, and the holiday DUI Crackdown. During the national mobilization periods, OTS will promote NHTSA’s slogan “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” and the “Report Drunk Drivers. Call 911” message.
  • Provide media relations training to appropriate OTS staff to better insure accurate, consistent and professional communications with the media.
  • Conduct basic public information, media relations, and marketing training for grantees to help them more successfully promote their local messages, events, operations and activities.

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