County receives grant to improve safety on roadways
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The Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office has been awarded a $300,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program aimed at preventing deaths and injuries on the roadways through special enforcement and public awareness efforts.

“The grant received by this office will aid in the County’s continuing effort to improve traffic safety and the quality of life,” Ravitch said.  “We will use the funding as part of an ongoing commitment to keep our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.  We are making a concerted effort, not only in this unit but throughout our office to combat the high rate of collisions involving vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians in our community.  The grant funds will help concentrate our efforts on DUI related cases, increasing offender accountability, awareness, and hopefully deterrence.”

The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions.  While traffic deaths from all causes declined by nearly 39 percent between 2006 and 2010 in California, state and federal officials anticipate figures will show a slight rise in 2011.  DUI deaths remain the largest sector at nearly 30 percent of traffic fatalities.  Recent trends show increases in two new categories – distracted driving and drug-impaired driving.

The District Attorney’s Office has formed a vertical DUI prosecution unit, with two deputy district attorney positions funded through the grant. 

These prosecutors will work with law enforcement agencies to provide better outreach and education to peace officers, prosecutors, and the public regarding the dangers of drinking and driving.  The unit will also review all incoming reports alleging driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and their combination, as well vehicular manslaughter and hit and run cases where drugs and/or alcohol are involved.  Once filed, designated cases will be handled vertically through disposition to ensure that a just outcome is reached.

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