Holiday gift-giving came early to the Santa Barbara Police Department, which recently received a $213,000 check from the state’s Office of Traffic Safety to bolster its efforts to crack down on drunk drivers and bicycle- and pedestrian-related incidents.
Recent increases in pedestrian and motorcycle deaths, said Sgt. Mike McGrew, coupled with an array of “distracting technologies” like cell phones, have proved particularly troublesome, as has the overall jump in the number of people killed or injured in traffic accidents in 2011 and 2012. Those figures were lower between 2006 and 2010 but recently started climbing, McGrew added.
Over the next year, the $213,000 will help the department educate bicyclists and pedestrians, conduct more DUI checkpoints, monitor DUI offenders who drive immediately following DUI court, and patrol for motorcycle and distracted-driving violations. Assistant patrol commander Brent Mandrell said “these funds will help us to curtail traffic deaths and/or injuries attributed to the most frequent types of traffic violations” in Santa Barbara and “will also enhance our agency’s DUI enforcement efforts.”