November 23, 2011
The Tulare County Probation Department has been awarded a new traffic safety grant for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries resulting from driving under the influence (DUI). The $75,000 grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) to Tulare County will aid in the county’s ongoing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life. Special probation supervision measures will target the high-risk, felony and repeat DUI offenders in Tulare County. The Probation Department will also work with other local law enforcement agencies on anti-DUI efforts as part of an on-going commitment to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.
"The intent of the Tulare County DUI Probation Supervision Program is to respond quickly and aggressively to felony DUI offenders through the assignment of a full-time Probation Officer," said Janet Honadle, Tulare County Probation Chief. "Felony DUI is a serious offense and convicted offenders require close probation supervision to ensure compliance with the terms of their release and immediate consequences for violations, including re-arrest. Probation Officers have been working DUI checkpoints with local law enforcement agencies for several years. Probation’s involvement has resulted in the arrest of probation violators with additional charges and has promoted greater collaboration among law enforcement and safer communities.”
Traffic deaths from all causes declined in California by 11.9 percent, from 3,081 killed in 2009 to 2,715 in 2010. While alcohol impaired deaths saw a sharp decline last year, DUI deaths remain the largest sector at more than 30 percent of traffic fatalities.
The grant will assist in efforts to deal with worst-of-the-worst, high risk DUI offenders that pose a risk to our communities. Funded activities will include monitoring of treatment and DUI program participation, conducting office visits, warrant sweeps, unannounced home searches, and random alcohol/drug testing to confirm compliance with court-ordered terms of probation.
“Thanks to the dedicated hard work of agencies like the Tulare County Probation Department, California has the fewest traffic fatalities since 1944,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy. “While this is good news, we know that only by keeping the pressure on through enforcement and public awareness can we hope to sustain these declines and save lives.”
“We are on the right path with declining fatalities,” said Murphy. “We have to stick to that path so that some day we can reach the vision we all share – Toward zero deaths, every one counts.”
Funding for this program is from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.