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Office of Traffic Safety

Moving Forward - 2011

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. Many of the strategies listed below are identified in California's SHSP. Future plans to improve traffic safety in California include:


  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
    • In 2011, OTS again identified and targeted California's 'Top 50 DUI Cities' and funded these cities to conduct additional DUI checkpoints. As a result, the 'Top 50 Cities' plan to conduct 598 DUI checkpoints in 2011. (SHSP Action 1.1)
    • 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)
    • Fund countywide and regional DUI Avoid programs in 42 counties involving 553 law enforcement agencies and CHP to conduct enforcement and media campaigns during holiday periods. OTS and MADD will sponsor regional DUI Seminars recognizing top DUI enforcement officers in each county. (SHSP Action 1.1)
    • Fund 43 'Live DUI Courts' and 15 'Live DUI Sentencings' in California high schools providing 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)M
    • Fund 150 'Every 15 Minutes' programs, 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. (SHSP Action 6.5)
    • Fund three 'DUI Only Courts' in California. Courts are now operational in Orange (4), Sonoma, and San Joaquin counties. Prior to 2008, there were only three DUI courts in California. (SHSP Action 1.5)
    • San Joaquin and Sonoma counties are using a 'staggered sentencing' model with their DUI courts. The 'staggered sentencing model' requires accountability among offenders and presents an alternative form of punishment and treatment where consequences are clearly defined and agreed upon with the judge. 'Staggered sentencing' is likely best-suited for cases with repeat offenders because of the level of court involvement in overseeing the defendant's progress to recovery. Judge Richard Vlavianos devised the model for 'staggered sentencing' in his court in San Joaquin County and will begin teaching this model to other judges at the National Judicial College.
    • Fund the Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor (TSRP) Program to offer prosecutors and law enforcement extensive training on a variety of topics related to DUI prosecution. The current training curriculum on drug DUI's will be expanded to a full-day program to a focus on marijuana identification and testimony specific to cannabis drugs. TSRP will partner with the CHP to offer a section on Standardized Field Sobriety Testing and will also cover important areas of drug DUI cases including the anatomy of a DUI case, using police officers as expert witnesses, and drug influences. A mini-presentation on drug DUI's will be available on the CalTSRP website. Additionally, the TSRP Program will explore the development of a series focusing on hands-on trial advocacy. (SHSP Action 1.3)
    • Coordinate with the California District Attorneys Association to fund a Vehicular Homicide Seminar in the spring of 2011, for 100 law enforcement personnel and 100 prosecutors from across the state of California who work on misdemeanor or felony vehicular homicides cases. The course coordinated by the TSRP Program 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. The subjects covered at the seminar will include California substantive law, collision investigation and reconstruction, post-collision determination of speed, how kinematics can assist in driver identification, understanding expert testimony in these cases, cross-examining a defense expert, and basic toxicology. (SHSP Action 1.4 and 1.17)
  • Drugged Driving
    • Fund alcohol wet lab and field certification training for POST Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) Academies.
    • Increase the number of law enforcement officers who are trained and certified as DRE's as well as encouraging DRE participation in enforcement operations.
    • Increase the number of established field certification sites and the number of POST academies offering DRE classes statewide.
  • Distracted Drivers
    • Continue to serve as co-lead with CHP on Challenge Area 17 ' Reduce Distracted Driving. (SHSP CA 17)
    • Collaborate with Network of Employers for Traffic Safety and the National Safety Council to promote and encourage the adoption of a model cell phone policy for public and private organizations.
    • Continue and create media partnerships to air Distracted Driving PSAs, present local and national stories, and announce zero tolerance cell phone and texting enforcement.
    • Conduct statewide cell phone/texting observational surveys using the National Occupant Protection User Survey (NOPUS) methodology.
    • Fund a Statewide Local Law Enforcement Mini Grant Program ' Zero Tolerance Against Hand Held Cell Phone Use and Texting.
    • Fund a statewide media campaign to change social norms.
    • Fund 'Impact Teen Drivers' through a CHP grant that provides education to teens.
    • Promote distracted driving education for teens.
    • Collect, report, and distribute distracted driving research.
    • Test, analyze, and encourage cell phone use mitigation technologies.
  • Occupant Protection/Bicycle And Pedestrian Safety
    • Fund the statewide implementation of 'Next Generation - Click It or Ticket', in which the CHP and local law enforcement agencies will conduct two, two-week well-publicized enforcement mobilizations in November and May. In addition, the campaign will promote sustained seat belt enforcement through efforts during both daytime and nighttime hours. (SHSP Action 4.2)
    • Fund, at 'no cost' to cities and counties, 'Pedestrian Safety Assessments' (PSA) conducted by engineers with the University of California, 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. Fourteen PSA's are planned for FFY 2011. (SHSP Action 8.4)
    • Fund 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.
    • Fund grants that support underserved 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)
  • Emergency Medical Services
    • Fund regional EMS 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 provide for the best use of funded equipment.
  • Traffic Records
    • In January 2011, a team of national experts will conduct a Traffic Records Assessment of California's state level traffic records systems to establish a baseline and serve as an aid in strategic planning. OTS and NHTSA are coordinating the assessment, where the Traffic Records Coordinating Committee members will present the panel with the current state-of-affairs of the records systems they oversee. The panel will then present suggestions for areas of improvement. The Traffic Records Coordinating Committee will take the suggestions and begin preparing a new Traffic Records Strategic Plan for the systems in California.
    • Fund Engineering Departments(san Joaquin County, Trinity County and Dublin) to purchase traffic collision database systems. The systems help engineering departments improve safety, data collection, access, and analysis. Additionally, the systems generate collision pattern diagramming and produce collision location mapping on Google Earth and ESRI GIS mapping products.
    • 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 traffic collision analysis database and GIS mapping programs and facilitate efforts to gain countywide programs through OTS grants.
    • Fund the California Department of Public Health to better understand current knowledge gaps and begin working towards integrating data sets like SWITRS, pre-hospital records, emergency department records, hospital inpatient records, and death data. (SHSP Action 16.4)
    • Fund the EMSA to update the 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)
    • Fund the CHP to allow for timely, statewide, online submission of traffic collision reports to SWITRS by CHP and allied agencies. (SHSP Action 16.1)
    • Research is one of the keys to development of successful strategies to reduce fatal and injury collisions. Currently in California, SWITRS is the primary source of collision data used by public and private researchers. In order to improve the quality of the data collected, the Traffic Records Coordinating Committee (TRCC) is soliciting and reviewing recommendations for the update of the Traffic Collision Report forms, SWITRS information retention, and the California Traffic Records Strategic plan. These recommendations will then be forwarded to CHP for final review and implementation.
  • Older Driver Safety
    • Fund the University of California, San Diego to improve driving safety in older adults through interventions addressing Age-Related Driving Disorders (ARDDs) and train law enforcement, health professionals, and students with a broader understanding of older driver sensitivities and impairments. These interventions will include health professional education and training. Driving is an important means of mobility and independence for older adults. However, as seniors age they often experience health and functional impairments that interfere with their ability to drive safely. If left unaddressed, these problems pose a risk of driving-related injury not only to the seniors themselves, but also to their families and to others who share the road with them.
    • Fund the CHP to implement a public awareness and education campaign focusing on senior traffic safety/mobility through the use of multi-disciplinary community-based collaboration groups. These groups will assess the issues and make recommendations to address the needs of the senior driving community and will include members from public and private organizations including law enforcement, health and aging professionals, transportation agency representatives, and other interested stakeholders.
  • Motorcycle Safety
    • Fund motorcycle safety enforcement operations which include public awareness media efforts in grants to local law enforcement agencies, including motorcycle-specific messaging in general traffic safety and DUI media outreach. Fund focused public awareness and enforcement campaigns by CHP in areas with highest number of fatal and injury motorcycle crashes. Public awareness will include 'Share the Road' messaging for motorists, promoting the use of proper helmets and other safety gear, as well as continuing to encourage riders to take advantage of the California Motorcyclist Safety Program training opportunities.

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  • To implement OTS eGrants, a web-based electronic grants management system that will allow agencies to apply for grants, submit claims and QPRs and generally manage their grants through a web-based interface. In FFY 2011, OTS will begin accepting FFY 2012 grant applications through eGrants and plans to begin managing existing grants through eGrants part way through FFY 2010.
  • Continue working closely with the Federal Government to ensure California receives its fair share of federal funding.
  • 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

  • Continue to strategically expand strategies that utilize social media and non-traditional communication venues to reach target audiences that are moving away from those that have been used in the past.
  • Significantly expand relationships with billboard and commercial changeable message sign companies to highlight OTS-promoted traffic safety messages at greatly reduced cost. 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.
  • 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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