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Office of Traffic Safety

Moving Forward - 2012

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 2012, OTS again identified and targeted California’s “Top 50 DUI Cities” and funded these cities to conduct additional DUI checkpoints in 2012. As a result, the “Top 50 Cities” plan to conduct 598 DUI checkpoints in 2012. (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 14 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 40 counties involving 556 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 40 “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)
    • Fund 150 “Every 15 Minutes” programs, a two-day program that focuses on high school junior 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)
    • Launch a new statewide “peer-to-peer” program: Teens in the Driver Seat.
    • 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.
    • The newly developed three-year performance-based TSRP Strategic Plan will have a heavy emphasis on drug impaired driving. Law enforcement officers will be trained to better detect and investigate drug impaired drivers. Prosecutors will be trained to try cases involving drugged drivers. Both of these objectives will be accomplished by presenting two day courses that include the seven drug categories in the DRE curriculum (CNS Depressants, CNS Stimulants, Narcotic Analgesics, Cannabis, Dissociative Anesthetics, Inhalants and Hallucinogens). The training will also include trial tactics for prosecutors so they can effectively deal with their own witnesses and defense experts. We will be presenting two to four classes each year, increasing the number of classes to six to eight per year by 2014.
    • The Vehicular Homicide Seminar in 2012 will include an expanded portion on drug-impaired drivers. Past seminars only had two hours devoted to drugs, but in 2012 it will be a minimum of four hours. In 2013 the seminar will be replaced with a three and one-half day seminar devoted exclusively to investigating and prosecuting drug impaired drivers. In 2014 we will return to the vehicular homicide format and do the drug training again in 2015. Alternating vehicular homicide and drug training will better equip law enforcement and prosecutors to all the tools they need to effectively investigate and prosecute drug cases.
  • Distracted Driving
    • Continue to serve as co-lead with CHP on Challenge Area 17 – Reduce Distracted Driving. (SHSP CA 17)
    • Fund a statewide media campaign to change social norms. (SHSP CA 17.01)
    • Fund a Statewide Local Law Enforcement Mini Grant Program - Zero Tolerance Against Hand-Held Cell Phone Use and Texting. (SHSP CA 17.02)
    • Conduct the second annual statewide cell phone/texting observational surveys using the National Occupant Protection User Survey (NOPUS) methodology. (SHSP CA 17.03)
    • Continue and create media partnerships to air Distracted Driving PSAs, present local and national stories, and announce zero tolerance cell phone and texting enforcement.
    • 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.
  • Drug-Impaired Driving
    • Fund alcohol wet lab and field certification training for POST 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.
    • Develop and conduct the first annual nighttime weekend “voluntary” roadside survey of alcohol and drug use by drivers. The survey, the first by any state, will mirror the methodology used by NHTSA in their 2007 national survey
    • Fund CHP to provide training to a minimum of 200 officers in the Basic Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST) course, 250 officers in the DRE course, 300 officers in the Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) course (SHSP Action 1.19), and 100 educational professionals in the DITEP course.
    • Fund Orange County District Attorney’s Office to facilitate DRE training to 100 officers from the various agencies within the county. Additionally, two prosecutor positions will be funded at 50 percent each to work solely on and prosecute drugged-driving cases.
    • Meet with key stakeholders to determine the feasibility of developing standard protocols or procedures for drug testing laboratories to use in identifying drugs that impair driving.
    • Fund DMV to determine whether the prevalence of marijuana involvement increased among California fatal crash-involved drivers after the passage of Proposition 215, after adjusting to the extent possible for confounding associated with better testing of crash-involved drivers. The analyses will also be replicated in the other 14 states with medical marijuana laws to strengthen the causal argument that any prevalence increases are indeed associated with these laws. The degree of regulation and/or ease of access to marijuana across states will be used to establish whether there is a dose-response relationship between access to marijuana and prevalence among crash-involved drivers.
  • 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.
  • Motorcycle Safety
    • 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. (SHSP Action 12.08 and 12.09)
    • 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. (SHSP Action 12.08)
    • Fund a grant to collect and compile additional data at motorcycle crashes via a supplement to the CHP-555. (SHSP Action 12.06)
    • Fund a grant to conduct a survey of California drivers’ and motorcycle riders’ knowledge, opinions and behaviors related to motorcycle lane sharing/lane splitting. (SHSP Action pending)
  • Occupant Protection/Bicycle And Pedestrian Safety
    • Using Section 2011 funds, OTS will promote California’s new booster seat safety law which requires children under age 8 (there are exceptions for those 4’9” but younger than 8) to ride in a safety seat or booster, in the back seat of a motor vehicle. A press release will be issued in early December and questions and answers will be posted to the OTS website. OTS is working with the CHP, California Department of Public Health, and child passenger safety advocates to develop educational materials on the new law. These materials will include citation-sized cards for law enforcement officers and hand outs for parents, hospitals, daycare facilities, and schools and be available by January 1, 2012.
    • 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 vehicle speed feedback signs, flashing beacons at school crosswalks, in-roadway warning lights at crosswalks and countdown pedestrian signals. (SHSP Action 8.2)
  • 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.
  • Traffic Records
    • In January 2011, a team of national experts conducted an OTS and NHTSA sponsored Traffic Records Assessment of California’s state level traffic records systems. The assessment, in conjunction with the final report of a Federal Highways Administration sponsored Peer to Peer conference held late in 2010, is being used to establish a baseline and as an aid in the strategic planning process of California’s long term strategic plan by the Traffic Records Coordination Committee. In early 2011, OTS and members of the Traffic Records Coordination Committee will be participating in a Federal Highways Administration Crash Data Improvement Plan (CDIP) review panel as part of the continuing effort to develop and refine the long term traffic records strategic plan for California.
    • Continue outreach efforts to both urban and rural counties to help them improve safety, data collection, access, and analysis by continuing to fund traffic collision database and GIS mapping systems. OTS staff will assess the use of countywide traffic collision analysis database and GIS mapping programs and facilitate efforts to add additional countywide programs through OTS grants.
    • Continue to embrace automated 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 is continuing to fund a project with the CHP that will deploy Handheld Citation Devices and e-Citation commercial off-the-shelf software to all CHP Area Offices for electronic generation of citations and electronic transmission of citations to the California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) for applicable County Court jurisdictions
    • Continue to support the California Department of Public Health’s effort to further refine the recently completed Crash Medical Outcomes Data project as necessary and the launch the online query data file from the 2007 linkage. For example, The EDRS motor vehicle death reporting supplement is done and will soon be available to coroners throughout the state.
    • Continue to support the EMSA in their efforts to increase statewide participation from local EMS agencies in the recently completed updated CEMSIS that has been designed to receive both EMS and trauma data electronically from each of the 31 local EMS agencies. The process is in place to revise QI indicators that will be programmed into CEMSIS for end-user use all which is in compliance with the federal data collections systems: National EMS Information System (NEMSIS) and the National Trauma Data Bank (NTDB). Injured patient data will continue to be linked with other data systems to assist state and local efforts in injury prevention related to traffic safety.
    • OTS will continue to fund the CHP in their on-going project to design and develop a web based data entry screen to enable smaller allied agencies, with a limited number of collision reports, to enter the collision report directly into the AACR database hosted at the CHP. This project will 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, timeliness and accuracy of the collected crash data, OTS has funded a project that will revise and improve the California Automated Reporting System (CARS) and SWITRS applications, and eliminate the redundant manual entry of collision data into multiple systems. An improved data warehouse will be developed for SWITRS to improve the ability to report and extract statistical data.

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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 accepted more than 420 FFY 2012 grant applications through eGrants and will begin accepting FFY 2013 applications through eGrants in January 2012. The implementation has encountered a number of delays over the last 12 months, but OTS anticipates being able to begin managing most aspects of FFY 2012 grants through eGrants part way through the 2012 calendar year.
  • To redesign the OTS website, including migrating to the new state web template and adding more search options to the OTS Rankings to allow visitors to more easily navigate the site and find the data they need.
  • Continue working closely with the federal government to ensure California receives its fair share of federal funding.
  • Develop and implement a federal transparency reporting process.
  • 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.
  • Continue to update the OTS Intranet content to use as a valuable resource tool for OTS staff.
  • 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. Peer group elections are conducted to select new Peer Recognition Committee members annually. The Awards Program Coordinator will survey staff to gain feedback on enhancing the program.

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Marketing and Public Affairs

  • 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, the holiday DUI Crackdown, and the National Distracted Driving Awareness Month in April. During the national mobilization periods, OTS will promote NHTSA’s slogan “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” and the “Report Drunk Drivers Call 911” message.
  • Continue to strategically expand approaches 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.
  • Use the results of the third annual Traffic Safety Intercept Survey to facilitate internal planning and externally influence reporting, discussion, public awareness, public education and, eventually, social norming on the areas covered.
  • In addition to the ongoing and updated marketing and public awareness efforts and campaigns, OTS will commit substantial funding to a year-round outdoor advertising effort to keep campaign messages before California drivers and passengers as they travel the state’s roadways.
  • 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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Previous Years