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A Press Democrat Blog

Road Warrior

Trying to make sense out of getting around

Survey: 14% of drivers test positive for drugs

That impaired driver you see on the road may be on drugs rather than drunk, a state survey shows. More than 1,300 drivers voluntarily provided breath and/or saliva samples at roadside locations last summer in nine cities around the state between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays — the peak times of impaired driving. The state Office of Traffic Safety said tests of those samples showed that 14 percent of the drivers tested positive for illegal and/or… Read More »

Dozens of special traffic safety ops by SRPD planned

Santa Rosa police recently received two state grants totaling about $165,000 to beef up enforcement of traffic laws, so here’s how the money will be be spent. One grant is for $75,850 for DUI/license checkpoints. Police Sgt. Rich Celli said that will allow eight checkpoints throughout the year. The other grant is for $90,000 for a variety of enforcement operations during the year, including: –Giving officers specialized training in finding and dealing with DUI suspects. Celli said he expects most… Read More »

Teen seat belt use up in state, not in Mendocino

Seat belt use by teenagers is California is at a record high, although not in Mendocino County, the state Office of Traffic Safety reports. A survey by California State University Fresno found 96.1 percent of teens were buckling up this year in the state, up from 94 percent in 2010. Nationally, teen seat belt use is in the low 80 percent range. The overall figure statewide, regardless of age, is 96.6 percent. The latest teen figure is based on a… Read More »

Five-peat for Petaluma police

It’s a five-peat for Petaluma police. For the fifth year in a row, the department was honored by the California Law Enforcement Challenge  for having the best  program of cracking down on impaired drivers among the state’s police departments. (When it comes to five-peats, the New York Yankees did it by winning the World Series from 1949 to 1953 and the Montreal Canadiens by winning the Stanley Cup 1056 to 1960, so it’s not easy.) At a ceremony Thursday at… Read More »

Zero tolerance enforcement under way for seat belts

It’s click it or ticket time. The CHP and more than 200 police departments statewide, including Petaluma’s, are implementing a zero tolerance enforcement of drivers and passengers who don’t use seat belts. The special enforcement program, which began Monday, runs through June 3. The state Office of Traffic Safety reported that California has one of the highest seat belt compliance rates in the nation at 96.6 percent. But with a population of about 37.7 million, that remaining 3.4 percent could… Read More »

57,000 cellphone tickets issued in April crackdown

The tally is in from April’s statewide Distracted Driving Awareness Month crackdown, and police throughout California wrote more than 57,000 tickets to drivers for using a hand-held cellphone or texting, according to the state Office of Traffic Safety. Of those, the CHP issued about 30,000 statewide, including about 5,900 in the Bay Area. The remaining 27,000 or so tickets were issued by 265 local police agencies that participated in the crackdown. For Sonoma County, CHP officers gave out 300 tickets… Read More »

Results of SRPD’s motorcycle crackdown / Petaluma’s is Saturday

Tuesday’s Santa Rosa crackdown on motorcycle traffic violations resulted in 24  motorcyclists being stopped by officers. Sgt. Lance Badger said 15 were ticketed for such things as helmets, mechanical and failing to yield. The remaining nine were given warnings. The all-day enforcement, funded by a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety, involved five officers whose main focus was motorcycle safety, although they handled other traffic enforcement issues as they came up, Badger said. The grant is funding eight… Read More »

Motorcycle ‘lane splitting’: Some drivers try to block it

It’s known as “lane splitting” or “splitting lanes.” It’s controversial, and it’s legal. Now, the state Office of Traffic Safety has issued a survey of motorcyclists and drivers about their reaction to lane splitting, in which bikers snake their way between cars on Highway 101 or on local roads with two lanes going the same direction. Here are some of the survey’s findings: –77.6 percent of motorcyclists say they lane split, with 30.9 percent saying they do it all the… Read More »

DUI/license checkpoint Friday in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa police on Friday plan to hold a DUI/license checkpoint. The checkpoint, the location of which wasn’t being disclosed, will be from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday. Funding for the operation comes from the state Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Safety Administration. —————- Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter via @PDRoadWarrior

Study: Traffic deaths dropped after cellphone ban

Fewer people have died on California’s roads and highways since a ban on drivers using hand-held cellphones took effect in July 2008, according to a study. The state Office of Traffic Safety on Monday reported the number of deaths of drivers who were using hand-held cellphones dropped 47 percent in the two years after the ban compared to the number of similar deaths during the two years before the ban. The study, commissioned by OTS and conducted by UC Berkeley’s… Read More »