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A Press Democrat Blog

Road Warrior

Trying to make sense out of getting around

Mailbag: What’s a STAR smog test? Bicyclists must follow rules of the road

We’ve had several readers write in asking what the new STAR smog test program is. Here’s an answer: The state Bureau of Automotive Repair on Jan. 1 changed its smog test program by eliminating Gold Shield smog-check stations, which generally handled potentially high polluting vehicles, and creating STAR test stations, which must meet a higher performance standard for technicians and the stations themselves as set by the bureau. Some of the STAR stations are test only while others can do… Read More »

19-day Sonoma County crackdown on DUIs to get under way

Sonoma County police officers for 19 days will be cracking down on DUI drivers. The county’s Avoid the 13 anti-DUI task force will begin its annual, stepped-up Christmas-New Year’s enforcement on Friday, with a DUI/license checkpoint at an undisclosed location. The checkpoint will be one of four the task force will hold during its winter campaign, which ends Jan. 1. “Lots of folks will be out during this busy holiday season, enjoying themselves and the holiday festivities, and we want… Read More »

Petaluma gets $600,000 in traffic enforcement grants

More than $600,000 in state traffic enforcement grants have been awarded recently to Petaluma police for a range of operations, including Sonoma County’s Avoid the 13 anti-DUI Task Force. Here are quick looks at each grant: –The biggest is $300,000 for a variety of traffic safety crackdowns by Petaluma police. About half of it allows the city to keep a traffic unit officer by covering his salary and benefits, said Sgt. Ken Savano, who oversees the traffic unit. That officer… Read More »

3 DUI/license checkpoints this weekend

Police in Sonoma County plan three DUI/license checkpoints this weekend. Santa Rosa officers will run a checkpoint from 7 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday at a location police won’t disclose. The Avoid the 13 Sonoma County DUI Task Force, in which all county police agencies participate, will hold two checkpoints, also at undisclosed locations. But odds are good that at least one of them will be in Petaluma because Petaluma police coordinate the task force. Petaluma Police Sgt. Ken… 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 »

Motorcycle crackdown Tuesday in Santa Rosa

Santa Rosa police on Tuesday plan to conduct one of its regular extra enforcement operations targeting motorcycle safety. The city’s traffic officers will be looking for violations involving motorcyclists as well as drivers of cars and trucks whose actions endanger motorcyclists. A similar operation Saturday by Petaluma police, which included targeting speeders, resulted in 68 tickets being issued, including seven to motorcyclists. Nine drivers on Lakeville Highway were cited for speeding, all going more than 75 mph in the 45-mph… Read More »

Petaluma DUI/license checkpoints Friday night

Petaluma police plan two DUI/driver’s license checkpoints Friday night. Officers likely will set up one checkpoint in the evening and then at some point Friday night move the checkpoint to another part of the city. Police declined to disclose where the checkpoints will be. Funding for the operations comes from a grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. ———– Follow the Road Warrior on Twitter via @PDRoadWarrior

Sonoma County’s top cop in DUI arrests

If you’re drinking and driving, Dan Hackett is looking for you. If he finds you, you’re going to jail. The 34-year-old Santa Rosa police officer was No. 1 last year among Sonoma County officers in the number of DUI arrests with 112. Hackett and 41 other officers from the county were honored in March by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and state Office of Traffic Safety for their efforts in DUI enforcement in 2011. No. 2 in DUI arrests in the… Read More »

Petaluma police target worst intersection

Petaluma police officers on Friday will be hanging out  at Lakeville Street and East Washington Street, looking for traffic violators because that intersection is the city’s worst when it comes to the number of collisions. Last year, 10 collisions occurred there. So far this year, three have. Of those 13 crashes, four involved injuries and nine were property damage only. Blamed for the collisions were such violations as right-of-way, unsafe speed, DUI, pedestrian right-of-way and unsafe starting. Here’s a list… 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 »