Your Monthly Update

August 2023

'Allies in Action' Supporting DOT's Safety Push Hits Century Milestone

The California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), which oversees the Office of Traffic Safety, was recently added to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) National Roadway Safety Strategy’s ‘Allies in Action’ list – part of the group that pushes the number of allies over 100. The DOT announced 25 new commitments on Aug. 3 from organizations and businesses who are taking action to reverse the crisis that is killing more than 40,000 people on American roads each year.

CalSTA’s commitment appears on the NRSS website:

CalSTA will expand safe transportation options for all road users by incorporating the Safe System Approach in California’s Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP), reaffirming the State’s vision of zero traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2050; implementing a Road Safety Action Plan to coordinate statewide review of Caltrans safety policies, procedures, and practices; and establishing a Highway Maintenance-4 Safety Pilot Program to quickly implement proven countermeasures at more than 2,000 locations by 2024. CalSTA is creating a joint Interagency Transportation Equity Advisory Committee with the California Transportation Commission and Caltrans to elevate diverse and historically marginalized voices. Lastly, CalSTA is launching a statewide "call to action" campaign for roadway safety led by the California Office of Traffic Safety.

Learn more

Study: Lowering Speed Limits Led to Fewer Crashes

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, A Multi-site Examination for the Impact of Changes in Posted Speed Limit on Traffic Safety, finds that raising posted speed limits may do little to save time and increase traffic flow but could lead to more crashes, injuries, and deaths. Speeding is a critical factor in vehicle crashes across the nation. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in California 35% of all traffic deaths are linked to speeding and speed-related deaths are at a 14-year high.

Key findings of the study include: raising posted speed limits was associated with increases in crash rates for two of the three interstate highways examined; lowering posted speed limits was associated with decreases in crash rates for one of the two roads examined; and changes in travel times were small in response to both raised and lowered speed limits.

The study selected 12 roadway segments – four in California – to conduct the before-and-after study. These sites implemented new posted speed limits – six raised and six lowered – between 2014 and 2018. This study is the third phase of the AAA Foundation research examining the effect of posted speed limit changes on safety.

Learn more

Ignition Interlock Compliance-Based Removal Laws Help Reduce Drunk Driving Repeat Offenses

Drunk driving is one of the deadliest yet most preventable behaviors, accounting for nearly one-third of the nation’s traffic crash fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, alcohol-impaired driving deaths have skyrocketed 31% in just two years, rising from 10,196 in 2019 to 13,384 in 2021. In California, 1,370 people were killed in alcohol-involved crashes in 2021, a 16% increase from 2020.

A new research study by the Governors Highway Safety Association finds that state laws dictating when ignition interlock devices (IIDs) may be removed from drunk driving offenders’ vehicles can help reduce repeat offenses. Currently in California, the Department of Motor Vehicles is conducting a Statewide IID Pilot Program requiring all repeat and all injury-involved DUI offenders to install an IID.

This new study suggests that enacting requirements governing when IIDs may be removed by DUI offenders can make them even more effective in reducing the likelihood of a driver getting a DUI again. Nearly 12,000 roadway deaths could be prevented each year if alcohol detection systems, such as IIDs, were installed on all vehicles, according to a 2021 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study.

Learn more

Grantee Highlight: MADD Law Enforcement Recognition Awards

The OTS and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) wrapped up a series of nine Law Enforcement Recognition Awards ceremonies throughout the state. The annual awards highlight the work of law enforcement, probation officers, prosecutors, emergency personnel, and MADD volunteers working to stop impaired driving-related crashes. Awards include “Top Cop” for the most arrests, Outstanding Probation Agency, and Prosecutor of the Year.

Last year, the OTS funded nearly 1,000 DUI checkpoints and more than 4,000 DUI enforcement patrols statewide, resulting in more than 5,000 DUI arrests.

Awards ceremonies were held by region, including Southern California, San Diego, Orange County, Sacramento, and the Bay Area.

See Award Recipients

Making a Difference in Our Community

Summer is a time for fun, sun...and exploring careers. That’s how students from the Elk Grove Unified School District spent five weeks of their summer learning about local government and gaining valuable work experience by interning with local public agencies. The OTS participated in the EGUSD’s Civic Summer Program, hosting two high school student interns assigned to the Marketing and Public Affairs and the Technology and Administrative Services Divisions. The OTS was pleased to be a participating agency, allowing our interns to be traffic safety champions!

Learn more

New Employee Spotlight

The OTS is pleased to announce the addition of two new employees. Join us in welcoming James Lee, IT Associate, and Dallas Saputra, Grant Coordinator, to the team. We asked James and Dallas questions to get to know them. Answers may have been edited for length and clarity.

James Lee

James began his state service in 2020 at the Employment Development Department (EDD), providing help desk support for Online Unemployment Insurance services and account management. He has excelled at customer service during his tenure with the state and within the private sector.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

I look forward to using my knowledge of Information Technology to aid coworkers and users, guiding them through technical challenges they may encounter.

What is your favorite movie?

“The Lord of the Rings”


One day to unplug. No strings attached. What would that day look like?

I would spend the day exploring the outdoors. I like hiking, biking, and walking somewhere I have not been.

What or who inspires you?

Learning a new skill inspires me. I like to be hands-on and learn new skills and information to expand my skill set.

Dallas Saputra

Dallas joins the OTS from the EDD, where he has worked for the last three years. He was most recently a Grants Analyst in the Grants and Solicitations Unit, where he was responsible for the entire grant Solicitation for Proposal administrative process. Dallas grew up in Ventura County before moving to Northern California in 2015 for school. He graduated from Chico State with a bachelor’s degree in economics in 2019 (Go Wildcats!). Dallas has a 9-year-old dog named Chop and enjoys the outdoors, hiking, golf, and basketball.

What are you looking forward to most in your new role?

What I’m most looking forward to in my new role is learning about the different programs the OTS is involved in and being able to assist in the elimination of traffic injuries and fatalities.

What is your favorite movie?

“Superbad.” Jonah Hill and Seth Rogen are a couple of my favorite comedy actors.

One day to unplug. No strings attached. What would that day look like?

I’d start my day by taking Chop on a walk around the neighborhood. After giving him his post-walk treat, I’d head to Haggin Oaks and hit some balls at the range. When I feel like I’ve gotten most of my whiffs and shanks out of the way, it’s off to the first tee for a quick round of nine. After golf, I like to grab a burger or sandwich somewhere. Maybe a chicken club with whatever Sierra Nevada they have on tap. Typically, an afternoon nap is in order after a round of golf, and to end the night, I’d head to a Kings game with some buddies to (hopefully) watch them light the beam!

What or who inspires you?

A person who inspires me is my grandmother. She immigrated to America in the early 70s with her husband and four kids for a better life. Less than a year after arriving in the States, her husband passed away, leaving my grandmother to work and care for her children in a new country where she didn’t speak the language. She taught herself English and worked full-time at Xerox and part-time at several miscellaneous jobs while caring for her home and raising her children, including my dad. My grandmother was eventually able to retire in her 50s and enjoy over 30 years of retirement, traveling the world and spending time with her children and grandchildren before unfortunately passing away in 2020. She inspires me to work hard for what I want and persevere no matter how difficult the circumstances become. I truly believe she is the embodiment of the American Dream and hope to live a life as full as she did.

U.S. Department of Transportation Announces Nearly $21 Million in Grants to Improve Road Safety on Tribal Lands

Transportation-related injuries and fatalities affect Native American and Alaska Native populations at greater rates than other demographic groups, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. To address this unacceptably high number of roadway deaths, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced $20.9 million in grant awards for 88 Tribal projects aimed at improve road safety on Tribal lands. Six Tribes in California were awarded nearly $3 million for roadway infrastructure safety improvement projects and data assessments.

The grants, from the Tribal Transportation Program Safety Fund, are for proven countermeasures such as pavement markings, rumble strips and better pedestrian infrastructure. To further assist the 574 federally recognized Tribes and their transportation needs, FHWA has developed Transportation Funding Opportunities for Tribal Nations, a brochure that provides information on new highway programs created under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as well as existing highway and bridge transportation funding programs.

Learn more

Muscle Cars and Small Cars Have Higher Driver Death Rates

Approximately every three years since 1989, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has been calculating driver death rates. In a new study by the IIHS, driver death rates per million registered vehicles per year were calculated for passenger vehicles of model year 2020.

The average driver death rate for all 2020 and equivalent models increased to 38 deaths per million registered vehicle years, compared with 36 for 2017 models. That’s a further increase from a low of 28 for 2011 models following a steady decline since the 1970s. The rise is consistent with a larger number of U.S. traffic fatalities over the four-year period covered by this study, compared with the previous one.

Six of the 21 vehicles with the highest driver death rates for model year 2020 are variants of the Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, Dodge Charger and Ford Mustang, while eight others are small cars or minicars. Eighteen of the 23 vehicles with the lowest driver death rates are minivans or SUVs, and 12 are luxury vehicles.

According to IIHS, smaller vehicles tend to have high driver death rates because they don’t provide as much protection, especially in crashes with larger, heavier SUVs and pickups, and the muscle cars on this list highlight that a vehicle’s image and how it is marketed can also contribute to crash risk.

This year for the first time IIHS also calculated the best and worst models according to the number of drivers in other vehicles killed in crashes with them.

Learn more

Call for Speaker Proposals

The Lifesavers Conference Planning Committee is still accepting speaker proposals for the 2024 Conference workshops, to be held April 7–9, in Denver, Colorado. All proposals must be submitted through this online portal. Speaker proposals are limited to three per person. The portal will close on September 5, 2023, and no speaker proposals will be accepted after this date.

All speaker proposals are carefully reviewed for their applicability to the Lifesavers Conference audience with an emphasis on “research to practice” and “vigorously evaluated programs".

Submit a proposal

Publications and Resources

Release Templates

Go Safely Movement

New "Go Safely" Public Service Announcements

Law Enforcement Liaison (LEL) Program

OTS Funding At a Glance

OTS Logos

The OTS administers traffic safety grants that deliver innovative programs and strives to eliminate traffic fatalities and injuries on California roadways. The OTS is a department under the California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA).
Grant Program Resources
Traffic Safety Data
Contact the OTS Marketing & Public Affairs Team

[email protected], 916-708-5128
Follow Us
Facebook  Twitter  Instagram  Youtube  

Copyright © 2023

OTS Marketing and Public Affairs

All Rights Reserved