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SRPD awarded $90,000 grant for injury-crash prevention

Funds to target enforcement of DUI, distracted driving, seat belts, other violations

State officials have awarded the San Ramon Police Department a $90,000 grant for a yearlong program of special enforcement and public awareness efforts aimed at preventing deaths and injuries from traffic collisions, a department spokesman announced Thursday.

The grant will help fund enforcement activities related to drunk driving, seat belts, speeding and other traffic violations as well as educational and training opportunities, according to San Ramon police Sgt. Pat Cerruti.

There's been a slowly rising uptick in injury and fatal crashes following a period of decline seen between 2006 and 2010, Cerruti said.

"Particularly alarming are recent increases in pedestrian and bicycle fatalities, the growing dangers of distracting technologies and the emergence of drug-impaired driving as a major problem," he added. "This grant funding will provide opportunities to combat these and other devastating problems such as drunk driving, speeding and crashes at intersections."

The $90,000 comes from a program administered by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"The Office of Traffic Safety and the San Ramon Police Department want to work with everyone to create a culture of traffic safety across San Ramon and the state," Rhonda Craft, director of the state office, said in a statement.

"Overall, California's roadways are among the safest in the nation," Craft added. "But to meet future mobility, safety and accessible transportation objectives, we have to reverse this recent trend in order to reach our common goal -- zero deaths on our roadways."

In San Ramon, the funds will help augment enforcement of laws related to driving under the influence, distracted driving, seat belt and child safety seat use, bicycle and pedestrian safety, speed limits, red lights and stop signs, according to Cerruti.

Other efforts will include warrant-service operations targeting multiple-time DUI offenders and the development of DUI "Hot Sheets" to identify the "worst of the worst" DUI offenders, the sergeant said.

Officers will also be given specialized training related to drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, with topics including standardized field sobriety testing, advanced roadside impaired driving enforcement and drug recognition evaluator. Educational presentations are also part of the grant program.

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