Your Monthly Update
January 2022
Director's Message
As we ring in 2022, I wanted to thank all of our partners for their collective efforts this past year to save lives on our roads.

Thirty-one mini-grant programs in Southern California helped support community-led service projects to improve safety in historically underserved areas. Traffic safety partners from the Central Valley to the Bay Area conducted safe streets assessments, with a pilot project that geared outreach to Spanish-speaking communities.

A county-wide campaign in San Diego educated the public on infrastructure changes, highlighted the benefits to bicycle and pedestrian safety, as well as how to interact and use the design changes safely. We expanded our motorcycle training courses, and provided funding for hundreds more throughout the state to improve rider skills and safety. Our law enforcement partners doubled down on collaborative enforcement efforts that focused on the most dangerous driver behaviors, such as speeding and impaired driving.

The OTS released an Equity Statement, with a renewed commitment toward an inclusive and equitable approach to education, enforcement, and outreach programs. This commitment to equitable programs is reflected in our grant applications for federal fiscal year 2023, which asks grantees to view their proposed programs through an equity lens.

We are well-positioned to continue this momentum into 2022, as new safety programs and the expansion of existing ones are a must in a time of crisis on our roads. An influx of federal highway safety funds will only further the difficult task ahead.

Last month, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) released a report on the vital role of behavioral safety and a shared responsibility among all road users in the "Safe System approach" to traffic safety.

This month, the U.S. Department of Transportation will release the first National Roadway Safety Strategy that will establish a set of actions all levels of government need to take to reduce serious injuries and deaths on roads. Embracing a more holistic approach to roadway safety is necessary for public acceptance and buy-in.

I look forward to a coordinated, concerted effort to keep our roads safe through 2022 and beyond.

I hope everyone had a happy and joyful holiday season.

All the best and go safely,
Barbara L. Rooney
OTS Director
GHSA Report Highlights
Role of Behavioral Safety in
Reducing Traffic Deaths
A new report from GHSA supports the important role of driver responsibility and behavior in the multi-faceted "Safe System approach" to traffic safety.

The Safe System approach recognizes humans make mistakes and that road design can help reduce the seriousness of crashes.

Titled, "Putting the Pieces Together: Addressing the Role of Behavioral Safety in the Safe System Approach," the report includes recommendations for how organizations can work together to incorporate the Safe System approach in traffic safety programs, as well as how to promote the role of behavioral safety in reducing serious injuries and deaths.

“The United States is heading in the wrong direction when it comes to traffic safety. Everything that should be decreasing is increasing, and vice versa,” GHSA Executive Director Jonathan Adkins said in a press release. “The Safe System approach holds great promise in addressing the difficult task of ending roadway deaths, but only if we use all of its strategies. The traffic safety community needs to work together, not in silos, if we want to make progress on the road to zero traffic deaths.”

The GHSA report notes that a combination of infrastructure solutions, education and enforcement are needed for successful implementation. The report cites the change in driver behavior around alcohol, which went from 28,000 people killed in alcohol-related crashes in 1980 to under 10,150 in 2019, as well as the widespread use of child safety seats and near universal public acceptance of seat belt use.

"The report debunks the misconception held by some in the traffic safety community that infrastructure alone can end road deaths and that behavioral safety plays no role in keeping road users safe," GHSA said. "Instead, it will take a comprehensive solution – including infrastructure improvements, changes to road design, equitable enforcement of traffic laws, education and public outreach, and emergency response – to reduce traffic crashes, injuries and deaths."

The GHSA report comes after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) noted a surge in traffic deaths in the first half of 2021. Despite projected vehicle miles traveled below pre-pandemic levels, there was an 18.4% year-over-year spike in traffic deaths, the highest since 2006.

This month, the U.S. Department of Transportation anticipates releasing its first National Roadway Safety Strategy, which will be rooted in Safe System principles.

The GHSA will hold a free webinar on Jan. 18 to discuss the report findings.
OTS Releases New
"Don't Let Drunk/High Drive"
Anti-DUI Campaign
The OTS joined leaders from the Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC), California Highway Patrol (CHP), California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA), Caltrans, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) for a news conference at Golden 1 Center on Dec. 14 to announce the release of the new "Don't Let Drunk/High Drive" public awareness and education campaign aimed at encouraging the public to “Go Safely” by not driving while impaired.

The speaking engagement included OTS Director Barbara Rooney, NHTSA Region 9 Administrator Chris Murphy, CalSTA Secretary David Kim, CHP Deputy Commissioner Sean Duryee, Caltrans Chief Safety Officer Rachel Carpenter and ABC Director Eric Hirata.

"Our roads are getting increasingly deadlier and we cannot, and should not, accept this as a part of life," Director Rooney said. "This is why the Office of Traffic Safety is...doubling down on our education and outreach efforts to encourage, convince, implore the public to work collectively to stop putting ourselves in situations that put others on the road at risk."

The news conference included the unveiling of the new "Don't Let Drunk/High Drive" PSA on the center court video board, and speakers touted the "Go Safely Pledge", which encourages people to be safe, responsible and always have a sober driver.

The media campaign ran through New Year's on social media, streaming services, digital billboards, TV, and radio.

To watch the press conference, visit thOTS YouTube channel. View the PSAs here.
The "Go Safely Game Plan" Expands to the Pitch: New Partnership with Sacramento Republic FC in 2022
The "Go Safely Game Plan" program will be at Sacramento Republic FC matches during the 2022 season.

Fans will see messages about the importance of having fun responsibly by not driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Fans will also have the chance to sign up for the Designated Driver Program and be rewarded for being a designated driver very important person (DDVIP) with a free non-alcoholic drink voucher, as well as the chance to be selected as the “DDVIP of the Match” and win a prize pack provided courtesy of Republic FC. 
“We are excited to partner with Sacramento Republic FC on a game plan that win, lose or draw, will always bring home the ‘W’ for fans choosing a safe, sober way to get home,” said OTS Director Barbara Rooney.
CHP: DUI Arrest Every Nine Minutes During Christmas Day Maximum Enforcement Period
The California Highway Patrol arrested more than 360 people suspected of driving under the influence (DUI) during the 54-hour Christmas Day Maximum Enforcement Period. That averages to about one arrest every nine minutes from 6 p.m. Dec. 24 to 11:59 p.m. Dec. 26. During that time, at least 28 people were killed in crashes throughout the state.

During Maximum Enforcement Periods, all available officers are on the road actively looking for suspected impaired drivers, as well as assisting any drivers or pedestrians in need of help.
2022: New Year, New Laws
The New Year brings with it new laws. Here is new legislation to look out for:

AB43Allows California cities and the state department of transportation to lower speed limits in increments of 5 miles per hour by considering and factoring in the safety of pedestrians when conducting speed surveys. Historically, cities and the state have set speed limits using the “85th percentile rule,” which considered the top 15% fastest drivers. AB43 adds a section to the vehicle code for traffic surveys to have “increased consideration for vulnerable pedestrian groups including children, seniors, persons with disabilities, users of personal assistive mobility devices, and the unhoused.”

SB389Allows restaurants to continue selling beer, wine and cocktails to go through the end of 2026. The Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) provided emergency regulatory relief for multiple state regulations at the onset of COVID-19 on the sale of alcohol, including selling cocktails to-go in sealed containers. This bill extends that temporary provision.
2021: A Year In Review
The OTS and our partners faced another challenging year, both from the impacts of COVID-19 and a grim picture of the safety on our roads.

Despite these challenges, the OTS continued to develop and administer safety initiatives to improve the safety of everyone on the road. This renewed focus on programs that work, as well as increased education around the most vulnerable road users – bicyclists and pedestrians – is necessary for all of us to take meaningful action to reduce serious traffic-related injuries and deaths.

Here's a snapshot of some of our programs from 2021.
Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) "Go Human" Education Program
SCAG awarded more than 30 community-oriented service projects to increase safety in historically disadvantaged areas most impacted by traffic deaths and injuries. Community groups identified unsafe intersections to collect data on the presence or lack of pedestrian safety infrastructure in high-crash areas, infrastructure improvement demonstrations showing the benefits of curb extensions, separated bike lanes, pedestrian refuge islands and "parklets."
University of California, Berkeley Complete Streets Safety Assessments
UC Berkeley's Safe Transportation Research and Education Center (SafeTREC) conducted 12 Complete Streets Safety Assessments (CSSA) throughout the state, with an increased emphasis on developing community action plans and evaluating safety improvements in historically underserved areas. Community groups put together action plans where safety measures were needed and were provided potential funding sources to complete plans. A pilot project geared outreach to Spanish-speaking communities. Communities that had CSSAs included Indian Wells, Kerman, Jurupa Valley, and Richmond.
San Diego County Sheriff's Department Toxicology Test Program Expansion
The pilot project is intended to help the department understand the prevalence of drugs in driving under the influence arrests, as well as get an idea of the impact of drug-impaired driving in the county of San Diego. The department's toxicology lab tests about 25% of blood samples from DUI cases for 150 different types of drugs.
Impact Teen Drivers "Under Your Influence" Podcast Series
Impact Teen Drivers and the National Road Safety Foundation launched a podcast featuring stories and helpful tips to empower parents and teens to practice safe behaviors on the road. Topics include California's provisional licensing law, speeding, and parental influence on driving behaviors.
The OTS Accepting
2023 Grant Applications
The OTS is accepting applications for the 2023 Federal Fiscal Year.

Applications are due electronically by Jan. 31, 2022.

To apply through our Grants Electronic Management System, visit the OTS website.

You may view our virtual application workshop on the OTS YouTube channel. A slide deck of our presentation is also available here.
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).
Contact the OTS Marketing & Public Affairs Team, 916-708-5128