California Highway Patrol officers responded to a rash of injury accidents along Highway 12 this year by increasing enforcement efforts over Labor Day weekend. And after a successful weekend, the CHP has decided to extend the campaign through the next several weeks.
“We’ll keep re-evaluating motorists’ trends, and we’ll continue to step up enforcement until that area has calmed down. Then we’ll focus on other areas,” said Officer James Smith, spokesman for the CHP.
From Friday through Monday, patrol vehicles, motorcycles and a fixed-wing aircraft were monitoring a stretch of the two-lane highway from east of the Lodi city limits to the Sacramento County line.
During the three-day enforcement effort, 125 citations were issued and no traffic collisions occurred.
“Having zero collisions, that for us is the success point,” Smith added.
So far this year, there have been 25 injury collisions on Highway 12, two of which resulted in death. Now that the CHP has observed the benefits of assigning additional officers along Highway 12, enforcement efforts will continue periodically over the next several weeks.
“The more people see us, the better they’ll behave, and for a longer period of time,” Smith said. “We want people to be safe, and statistics show that the more officers in one area, the safer people are.”
Smith, who assisted with the weekend’s enforcement effort, said the CHP would focus on violations that cause the greatest risk to life and property. He added that the most common violations along Highway 12 are speeding, unsafely passing vehicles and failure to drive with headlights on during the day.
“The laws are very clear,” he said. “But still, people continue to speed or continue to not wear their seat belts. They think it’s their choice.”
Officers are also continuing to crack down on people driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, one of the most severe issues police face today, Smith said.
“(Drugs and alcohol) mess up people’s perception or their ability to judge time or distance,” Smith said. “A machine isn’t a toy. It’s 2,000 pounds. And at 60 miles per hour, that’s a missile.”
The CHP is encouraging the public to assist with its campaign by dialing 911 to report drunk or reckless drivers.
“Through education and enforcement, our officers are saving lives and reducing the risk of injury to those traveling on Highway 12,” CHP Capt. Rob Patrick said.
Contact reporter Kristopher Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org.