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With the help of a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, Hollister Police this winter plan to take action to deter unsafe driving and increase safety on local roads. 

The $70,000 grant will allow the Hollister Police Department to increase patrols throughout the community, conduct DUI checkpoints and implement other enforcement measures, according to Hollister Police.  

“Traffic enforcement is a tool, but our primary goal is to educate the public in an effort to reduce  crashes and raise awareness on the dangers that exist on our roads,” said Hollister Police Captain Eric Olson. “This grant helps us with our ongoing traffic safety efforts so our community can feel safe when traveling.”  

The grant will provide additional programs and resources, including DUI checkpoints and patrols focused on stopping suspected impaired drivers; high visibility distracted driving enforcement operations targeting drivers in violation of the state’s hands-free cell phone law; and enforcement operations focused on the “most dangerous driver behaviors that put the safety of people biking or walking at risk,” says the Hollister Police Department’s announcement. 

The grant will also help Hollister PD conduct enforcement operations that are focused on the violations that cause the most crashes, including speeding, failure to yield, stop sign and/or red-light running and improper turning or lane changes, police said. 

Additional programs expected to be funded in Hollister by the OTS grant include community presentations on traffic safety issues such as distracted driving, impaired driving, speeding and bicycle and pedestrian safety; and officer training and/or recertification for Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST), Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement (ARIDE) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE), according to police. 

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety’s 2021 Annual Report, traffic fatalities in California from 2019 to 2020 increased by 3.4%, from 3,719 to 3,847 deaths. Alcohol impaired traffic fatalities involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or higher increased by 20% from 2019 to 2020, from 966 to 1,159 deaths. 

Nationwide, traffic fatalities in 2020 numbered 36,680—a 1.6% increase from 2019, according to the OTS annual report. In the first half of 2021, traffic fatalities in the U.S. are estimated at 20,160 deaths. 

The grant program for the Hollister Police Department will run through September 2023. The funds for the grant come from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

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Michael Moore is an award-winning journalist who has worked as a reporter and editor for the Morgan Hill Times, Hollister Free Lance and Gilroy Dispatch since 2008. During that time, he has covered crime, breaking news, local government, education, entertainment and more.



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