Your Monthly Update
December 2020
The OTS Targets Drivers Traveling Too Fast
Less traffic on the road has brought out the speed demons in many drivers, another domino effect from a global pandemic that, like speeding drivers, shows no signs of slowing down.

It is why the OTS launched a new education campaign last month encouraging drivers to slow down and follow the speed limit. The "Slow the Fast Down" campaign featured a series of safety messages on digital platforms, including social media, streaming and gaming services, and outdoor billboards. In addition, public service announcements ran on broadcast and social media, as well as the radio.

"While an age-old problem, this culture of acceptance toward speeding is rearing its ugly head during the toughest of times," OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. "In a year full of unprecedented challenges, one thing that hasn't changed is the need for everyone to be safe and slow down."

The speeding problem is evident in the number of tickets issued compared to last year. Between Sept. 1 and Oct. 31, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers issued 4,851 citations for speeding in excess of 100 miles per hour, a 93% increase when compared to the same period last year. 

The OTS will continue to treat speeding as a significant traffic safety issue that needs to be addressed, along with impaired driving and the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians.
In addition to an education campaign, the OTS has developed yard signs that will be made available to remind drivers to slow down.

We are also asking the public to tell us who they "slow the fast down" for. Those who participate will be entered in a drawing for a chance to win a pair of Apple Airpods, provided courtesy of iHeart Media.Twenty winners will be selected randomly on Dec. 18.

More details and information on the prize drawing is located on the "Go Safely, California" website:

"Our intent is to really look at changing behavior," Director Rooney said. "It's all about having a mindset that speeding is dangerous and will not be tolerated."

Gov. Newsom Names Amanda Ray New
CHP Commissioner
It was a historic moment last month for the CHP. Amanda Ray was sworn-in by Gov. Gavin Newsom Nov. 18 as the new CHP Commissioner.

Ray is the first woman to lead the agency in its more than 90-year history.

Ray replaces Warren Stanley, who retired after nearly 40 years of service, including a close working relationship with the OTS through the Highway Safety Corridor Program and Impaired Driving Section.

Ray was previously Deputy Commissioner, the first Black woman at that position. She is the second African American to lead the CHP, with Stanley being the first.

“I would like to thank Governor Newsom for the outstanding opportunity to lead this great Department and to continue to work each day with the women and men of the California Highway Patrol," Deputy Commissioner Amanda Ray said in a news release from the Governor's Office. "I couldn’t be more honored and proud to accept this appointment and further the CHP’s mission of providing the highest level of Safety, Service and Security, and ensuring California is a safe place to live, work and travel."

Ray started with the CHP in 1990 as a cadet, moving her way up the ranks as an Officer, Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain, Assistant Chief, Chief and Assistant Commissioner. 

"I am confident that Deputy Commissioner Ray will be a crucial partner as we continue the important work ahead to strengthen community engagement in public safety and advance reforms to our criminal justice system that will help foster a more just and inclusive future for all Californians," Gov. Newsom said in a statement.

In a message on Twitter, Commissioner Ray added that she is "extremely honored and proud to assume command of the CHP" and is thankful to "all who have come before me."

"Congratulations to Commissioner Ray and her newly appointed executive team," OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. "The OTS is honored to work with you."
The OTS Launches
New Anti-DUI Campaign
The OTS will be launching our annual anti-DUI education campaign Dec. 14 through the New Year's Day holiday.

During this time, a series of safety messages will run on social media, streaming services and outdoor billboards across the state. This will also include video PSAs on broadcast and radio.

The campaign coincides with a state and national enforcement mobilization where law enforcement agencies across the country actively look for unsafe driving practices like impaired driving.

Despite a decrease in traffic volume during the COVID-19 pandemic, a report released by the National Highway Traffic Safety (NHTSA) found that more people involved in serious injury and deadly crashes had alcohol, cannabinoids (active components of marijuana) and opioids in their system compared to before COVID-19.

"This has been a challenging and difficult time, but it does not excuse driving while impaired," OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. "We hope to leverage this unprecedented moment to drive behavior changes that save lives."

The one positive wrinkle this year is that the number of DUI crashes on state highways are down from 2019. According to the University of California, Berkeley's Transportation Injury Mapping System (TIMS), there were 3,983 DUI crashes on state highways from Feb. 3 to Nov. 23, down from 4,537 crashes during the same time period last year.

"If we've learned any hard lessons from COVID-19, it is a renewed sense of care for one another," Director Rooney said. "This sense of care should translate to road safety, and that's the ultimate goal here. For people to make smart choices and be safe."
NHTSA Seeks Input on Drunk Driving Prevention Technology
NHTSA is continuing to explore new vehicle technology that could prevent imbibed individuals from driving.

Last month, NHTSA issued a "request for information" on technology that detects when drivers are impaired and prevents them from starting their cars.

In 2008, NHTSA began a research partnership known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program. So far, the program is developing in-vehicle technology that is breath and touch-based to detect blood alcohol content (BAC) levels. The breath-based technology can detect alcohol on a driver's breath from ambient air in the car, while the touch-based technology detects alcohol through the driver's skin when they attempt to activate a push-button ignition.

"NHTSA is interested in better understanding the state of technologies in impaired driving detection and mitigation, particularly those targeting alcohol-impaired driving," the request for information stated.

A July 2020 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found that alcohol-detection systems that stop people who are impaired from driving could prevent more than 25% of roadway deaths in the U.S., saving upwards of 9,000 lives. Alcohol has been a factor in 30% of U.S. roadway deaths every year for the past decade, or one person every 50 minutes.

"While we've made significant progress, the reality is that thousands still die in alcohol-related crashes every year," OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. "Reaching zero deaths is only possible through exploring new technologies and continuing programs that are effective in saving lives."

A Senate Bill introduced last year, the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act (RIDE), would make alcohol detection systems mandatory on all new cars by 2024.

NHTSA is accepting information for impaired driving technologies until Jan. 11, 2021.
Caltrans Rolls Out "Move Over" Education Campaign, Seeking Volunteers For Road Charge Program
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) began its annual "Move Over" education campaign to raise awareness of a state law requiring drivers to move over a lane or slow down when they see tow trucks, Caltrans or emergency vehicles.

Last month, a Caltrans contractor was hit and killed on State Route 94 in San Diego County. In October, two contract workers were killed, one near downtown Los Angeles and the other in the Bay Area.

In 2019, more than 7,000 work-zone collisions occurred on California highways resulting in more than 3,200 injuries and 53 fatalities.

"The families of highway crews count on them returning home each day," Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a press release. "Every worker who is killed or injured on the job represents a family torn apart by tragedy."

The "Move Over" campaign features the children and grandchildren of Caltrans workers reminding drivers to pay attention, slow down and move over.

"Highway workers have families that care about them," OTS Director Barbara Rooney said. "It's critical for drivers to be careful and drive like their family is out there working."

Caltrans Road Charge Program

Caltrans is looking for 150 volunteers as part of a research project that examines charging drivers for the miles they travel instead of the state gas tax.

Called the California Road Charge Phased Demonstration, Caltrans is exploring a variety of ways to charge by the mile, including a pay-at-the-pump model, electronic vehicle charging station system, or through a usage-based formula common in insurance.

Participants are eligible to receive up to $100 in incentives. Future projects will include testing an app-based payment of rideshare miles and capturing data from autonomous vehicles.

Taxes on fuel are the primary source of state funding for road and highway repairs and upgrades, Caltrans said.

“Caltrans is continuing its research to explore how a future road user charge can fund transportation projects throughout the state," Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said. "We want Californians to join us in testing payment options that will inform our research in designing an equitable and sustainable road charge program.”

The six-month demonstration will start in January 2021. To learn more about the Road Charge Program, visit
Bike, Walk Safely Photo Contest Winners Announced
Gretchen Swanson
Long Beach
Steve Padgett and crew Sunnyvale
Erin Garvey and crew
San Jose
The OTS has selected five winners for our bike/walk safely photo contest! Congrats to Gretchen Swanson of Long Beach, Steve Padgett of Sunnyvale, Francisco Guzman of Carson, Erin Garvey of San Jose and Risa Jensen of Los Angeles! All five will be receive a new laptop, provided courtesy of iHeart Media.

The OTS bike/walk safely photo contest asked Californians to snap a photo or collage of photos showing actions they take to stay safe on their bike ride or walk.

Whether by walking, biking, unicycle or stilts, it was great to see where people were going and how they were doing it safely.

The photo contest ran from Sept. 28 to Nov. 6, and all California residents 18 or older were eligible to participate.

Entries were judged based on proper use of safety equipment, clarity of pedestrian and/or bicycle safety methods, relevance of photos, as well as creativity, originality and artistic quality.

To see the rest of the winning entries, visit
Deadline for City of Lancaster's
"See and Be Seen" Art Contest Extended to Dec. 4

Calling all artists in Lancaster! The deadline for submissions to the city of Lancaster’s “See and Be Seen” student art contest has been extended to Friday, Dec. 4. K-12 students who enter the contest will be eligible to have their artwork adapted and featured on traffic signal cabinets around Lancaster encouraging people to travel safely. Funding for the signal cabinet wraps was provided by a grant from the OTS.

To participate in the art contest, students must choose a “See and Be Seen” safety message as inspiration:
  • Make eye contact
  • Eyes up, phone down
  • Ride right in the bike lane
  • Keep in mind, walk between the lines

Entry forms are available at Lancaster City Hall or online to print on 11” x 17” white paper.

All entries must be submitted by Friday, Dec. 4 online, in person, or by mail to Lancaster City Hall, 44933 Fern Avenue, Lancaster, CA 93534.

For more information about the contest guidelines, visit
2021 Lifesavers Conference Registration Now Open
Registration is now open for the virtual Lifesavers Conference on Highway Safety Priorities!

The conference is April 26-28, 2021, and will feature 70 workshops, a virtual exhibit hall and networking opportunities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 conference, originally scheduled to take place in Long Beach, will be held entirely online from April 26-28, 2021. There will be no on-site conference activities.

To review a list of tentative workshop titles, visit the Lifesavers Conference website.
#GoodNews Stories
This is a difficult time for all of us and we are in need of good news. Here is how our grantees are bringing care, joy and happiness to the communities they serve.
Richmond PD Recognized by MADD for Traffic Safety Efforts
Officer Khoa Nguyen
Officer Kevin Lemus
Officer Alyssa Alvarado
Three officers with the Richmond Police Department were honored with awards from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). RPD officers Khoa Nguyen, Alyssa Alvarado and Kevin Lemus were among those honored by MADD for their efforts to curb impaired driving from July 2019 to July 2020, the Richmond Times-Standard said.

Officer Nguyen received MADD's Bay Area Top Cop Award. Officer Nguyen made 113 DUI arrests in Richmond the past year, Sgt. Donovan Decious told the Richmond Times-Standard.

Officer Alvarado received the Outstanding Service Award, and Officer Lemus received the Outstanding Rookie Award.

Congrats to all of you for your dedication and service!

December 7: Fiscal Year 2022 Grant Application Period Opens

December 7-11: Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

December 14, 2020-January 3, 2021: OTS Anti-DUI Media Campaign

December 18, 2020-January 1, 2021: NHTSA Holiday Season National Enforcement Mobilization
The California 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).
Contact the OTS Marketing & Public Affairs Team