About OTS

Mission and Vision


The Office of Traffic Safety’s mission is to effectively and efficiently administer traffic safety grants while fostering partnerships to deliver innovative programs that reduce traffic deaths, injuries, and economic losses.


“Saving Lives Through Traffic Safety Efforts.” We believe that saving lives on California roadways calls for more than just a reduction in fatalities. Our vision is to eliminate traffic fatalities altogether. Every fatality counts, even one is one too many.

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What We Do

The California Highway Safety Program is a partnership effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and California. OTS is designated by the Governor to receive federal traffic safety funds for coordinating California’s highway safety programs. Each year OTS develops a Highway Safety Plan (HSP) identifying the key highway safety problems in the state and the most effective countermeasures to address them. OTS then solicits proposals statewide to address the identified problems and allocates funds to state and local governmental agencies to implement traffic safety programs and grants.

The grants support planning to identify highway safety problems, provide start up “seed” money for new programs, and give new direction to existing safety programs. The funds are intended to create and help sustain innovative programs at the state and local level, and leverage commitments of state, local, and private resources. OTS also mounts public awareness campaigns and acts as a primary traffic safety resource in order to enlist the help of the general public and the media encouraging traffic safety.

Grant Program

OTS strives to be results-oriented in all that we do and to be a thought-leader in the traffic safety arena. We proactively respond to emerging traffic safety issues through innovative and evidential-based programs and technologies. Through public-private partnerships with key stakeholders, we work more effectively and continue to explore methods that enable traffic safety practitioners to do their jobs more efficiently.

Each October – November, OTS mails “Requests for Application” postcards to more than 3,000 eligible agencies outlining the opportunity to participate in the program and the requirements to compete for available funds. The applications, requirements, and process for submitting proposals to OTS are located on the OTS website. Proposals are submitted addressing traffic safety problems from all interested and eligible agencies.

OTS Coordinators function as liaisons with private and public sector traffic safety leaders to track successful programs and encourage collaborative efforts. This approach encourages widespread participation in the program and gives OTS a broad base from which to select the most effective and cost-efficient countermeasure programs possible.

Since OTS does not have sufficient funds for all submitted proposals, a comprehensive review is part of the proposal selection process. OTS reviews proposals against several criteria including: potential traffic safety impact, collision statistics, seriousness of identified problem(s), and performance on previous grants.

OTS’ program goal is to help local communities develop traffic safety programs which will contribute toward OTS’ vision of “Saving Lives Through Traffic Safety Efforts.”

OTS grants touch as many state and local agencies as possible. The grants are distributed statewide and regionally, as well as to programs that service ten identified regions-Northern California, Northern Bay Area, Sacramento, Southern Bay Area, Central California, Central Coast, Los Angeles County, Inland Empire, Orange County, and Southern Border.

Areas of Concentration

The Office of Traffic Safety has identified the following ten priority areas of concentration for grant funding:

Alcohol-Impaired Driving: The program goal is to reduce deaths and injuries attributable to alcohol-impaired driving. Sobriety checkpoints, public information, and high school education programs are used to impact alcohol-impaired driving.

Distracted Driving: The program goal is to reduce deaths and injuries related to distracted driving. The primary focus is cell phone use while driving. Education, public information, and enforcement are key strategies promoted to reduce cell phone use while driving.

Drug-Impaired Driving: The primary goal is to reduce deaths and injuries attributed to drivers under the influence of legal and illegal drugs. Law enforcement and prosecutors need training to successfully identify, apprehend, and prosecute drug-impaired drivers. Testing Laboratories also need state-of-the-art drug testing equipment.

Occupant Protection: The program goal is to increase compliance with the safety restraint laws including the correct and consistent use of infant and child safety seats.

Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety: The program goal is to increase safety awareness among pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists through various approaches including education, enforcement and engineering.

Traffic Records: The program goal is to establish/improve record systems that aid in identifying existing and emerging traffic safety problems and aid in evaluating program performance. Accurate and current records are needed to support problem identification and to evaluate countermeasure effectiveness.

Emergency Medical Services: The program goal is to ensure that persons involved in motor vehicle collisions receive rapid and appropriate medical treatment through a coordinated system of emergency medical care.

Roadway Safety: The program goal is to improve the roadway and associated environment with a special emphasis on the identification and surveillance of crash locations, traffic control device inventories and other related traffic engineering services.

Police Traffic Services: The program goal is to reduce motor vehicle collisions through selective enforcement, education and deterrence. PTS programs seek to encourage compliance with safety belt use, impaired driving, speed limit and other traffic laws.

Motorcycle Safety: The program goal is to improve motorcycle safety by training and educating motorcycle riders on the effectiveness and need for safety equipment and educating the motoring public on the presence of motorcycles in the traffic environment.