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Watsonville police receive $112K in grants to increase road safety

Watsonville police said Friday that the department received two grants, totalling $112,000, to increase road, bicycle and pedestrian safety.

The grants come from the California Office of Traffic Safety. One of the grants is worth $70,000, and police said that will be used to fund activities intended to reduce deaths and injuries on roads.

Some of the programs it will fund include:

DUI and driver’s license checkpoints. Patrols for suspected alcohol and/or drug-impaired drivers. Patrols targeting hands-free cellphone law and vehicle code violations. Patrols targeting speeding, improper turns, running stop signs or signals, right-of-way violations and driving on the wrong side of the road. Patrols for seat belt and child safety seat violations. Traffic safety education presentations on distracted and impaired driving. Creating sheets identifying repeat DUI offenders. Officer training to identify suspected impaired drivers and conduct sobriety tests.

The other grant is $42,000, and it will fund a yearlong program to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Police said the grant will be used to conduct bicycle training classes and educational workshops for youth and older adults, as well as educating the community on the importance of safety equipment.

Police said the funding will also be used to participate in national education campaign events and programs. The events and programs include National Walk to School Day, Bicycle Safety Month, Pedestrian Safety Month, Safe Routes to Schools and Vision Zero.

Watsonville police said pedestrian and bike-related crashes have increased over the last five years. In 2016, they said 867 pedestrians were killed in California, a 33% increase from 2012. A total of 147 bicyclists were killed in crashes in 2016 statewide, up 14% from 2012.

In Watsonville, police said one pedestrian has been killed and 20 pedestrians have been injured so far this year. They said seven bicyclists have been injured in vehicle crashes this year.

KION546 News Team

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