The Sonoma Police Department has been awarded a $70,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on the roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.

Sonoma Police Chief Bret Sackett said, “Traffic enforcement continues to be a priority for the City of Sonoma. This grant from the Office of Traffic Safety will provide much-needed resources to help us reach our goal of reducing traffic accidents through public education, awareness and enforcement.”

The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions.

While traffic deaths from all causes declined by nearly 39 percent between 2006 and 2010 in California, they rose by 2.6 percent in 2011. State and federal officials anticipate that figures will show another rise for 2012. DUI deaths remain the largest sector, at nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities. Recent trends show increases in two new categories – distracted driving and drug-impaired driving.

Activities that the grant will fund include:

• Specialized DUI and drugged driving training, such as Standardized Field Sobriety Testing (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE), and Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE).

• DUI Saturation Patrols.

• Motorcycle safety enforcement.

• Distracted driving enforcement.

• Seat belt and child safety seat enforcement.

• Speed, red light and stop sign enforcement.

• Warrant service operations targeting multiple DUI offenders.

• Compilation of DUI “Hot Sheets,” identifying worst-of-the-worst DUI offenders.

• Stakeout operations to observe the “worst of the worst” repeat DUI offender probationers with suspended or revoked driver licenses.

Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.