About OTS

OTS takes a leadership role in efforts to make California roadways safe for all users. Through thoughtful, forward-thinking, and data-driven selection of grants to local and state agencies, OTS provides an effective means of eliminating fatalities, injuries, and economic losses resulting from crashes.Through grant funding made available to California by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), OTS annually funds over $80 million dollars in innovative, evidence-based education and enforcement programs and technologies designed to make California’s roadways safer. OTS is determined to identify and overcome new traffic safety issues as travel habits change and transportation technologies emerge. To that end, we evaluate all potential programs to ensure California addresses current and future traffic safety needs.Our success depends on strong partnerships. We work with approximately 300 state and local agencies to make the most effective use of federal grant program funds. Additionally, we coordinate with traffic safety partners to track successful programs, encourage collaboration, develop new countermeasures, and explore emerging trends.In addition to the many programs funded through these grants, the OTS team is committed to sharing the message of traffic safety. We accomplish this through public awareness campaigns that educate the public on safe driving habits. Our team proudly represents California as a leader in traffic safety efforts at the local, state, and national levels. 

 

Vision

Everyone traveling on California roadways will go safely.

Mission

Effectively administer traffic safety grants that deliver innovative programs and eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries on California roadways.

Core Values

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SERVICE

We take pride in our service and how we treat our partners and stakeholders.

 

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RESPECT

We value differing opinions and act with integrity and responsiveness in all of our interactions.

 

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INNOVATION

We welcome and actively seek new ideas to improve traffic safety and our services.

 

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PASSION

We are enthusiastic about our mission to save lives and keep travelers safe on California’s roads.

 

History

By 1966, motor vehicle traffic crashes nationally claimed nearly 51,000 lives a year, or 26 deaths for every 100,000 Americans. Recognizing the need to reduce the carnage on the nation’s roads, Congress passed the National Highway Safety Act, which provides for federal traffic safety funds to states.

In 1967, the California Traffic Safety Program (TSP) was enacted by the Legislature to provide authority for the State to implement the requirements of the national legislation. Subsequently, the Governor delegated authority to administer the TSP to the Secretary of the Business, Transportation and Housing (BT&H) Agency. In turn, the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) was created in the BT&H Agency to administer the TSP under the direction of the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative.

Since that time, the work and influence of OTS has grown and spread. In the early days, funding, expertise, and results were scarce. Over the years, OTS staff became skilled professionals, programs expanded, and local authorities embraced the traffic safety message. Interest grew, priorities areas were established, and traffic deaths and injuries began to fall.

Each year a Highway Safety Plan (HSP) is developed to reflect current needs as well as detailing the planned use of federal funds. The HSP identifies problems, specific performance measures, proposed solutions, time frames and fiscal information on continuing and planned new grants which are designed to mitigate traffic safety problems. OTS’ role in this cycle has proven invaluable as it provides a vital link among Federal, State and local functions.

OTS became the national leader in innovative programs to save lives on its roadways. It has established results driven best-practices and encouraged new strategies. While the state’s population continues to grow, traffic deaths and injuries are falling.