Rohnert Park motorists felt the consequences of not following the rules of the road last Wednesday when 98 drivers were cited in a planned Combined Intensive Traffic Enforcement program conducted by the Rohnert Park Department of Public Safety and other local police agencies who teamed up to combat traffic concerns in problem areas of town.
If drivers were trying to make a right turn from a left lane, an illegal “U” turn, cut someone off, or do a California stop by gliding through the stop sign, then Traffic Motor Officers from the California Highway Patrol, Santa Rosa Police Officers, Petaluma Police Officers and Sonoma County Sheriff’s Deputies were all on deck to make sure drivers did not make these unnerving and dangerous moves.
The agencies partnered with RP’s public safety department for the monthly C.I.T.E. program, which is hosted each month by a different county law enforcement agency.
Officers were out from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and stopped nearly 100 drivers for various traffic infractions, although officers mainly focused on speeding.
“Officers conducted focused enforcement for stop sign and speed violations throughout Rohnert Park,” according to an RP Department of Public Safety news release.
By the end of the day, a total of 98 drivers were given citations and one driver was arrested for driving with a suspended license.
“There were 14 motor officers out, so you expect a lot (of citations) to go out. There is no expectation, no number of what we have to give out,” said Sgt. Jerrod Marshall of the RP Department of Public Safety. He also said a couple warnings were given out.
The officers focused on areas where there are typically more frequent car crashes and instances of dangerous lane changes and running through stop signs according to Marshall.
“We focused on Lancaster Drive, Camino Colegio, the intersection of Golf Course Drive and Commerce Boulevard, Golf Course Drive at the 101 off ramp, Redwood Drive and Golf Course and near the expressway,” Marshall said.
Marshall said around 1,000 cars travel these key roads every day and monitoring them is an important task.
According to a 2016 public safety traffic report, there were a total of 235 non-injury collisions in Rohnert Park and 47 collisions that resulted in injury and according to primary collision factor data, most of the crashes were caused by speed. And in that same year, the top cited violations were for not stopping at a sign or stoplight.
The C.I.T.E. program has now been in use for several years and aims to bring collaboration between each jurisdiction. According to the news release, it has been successful so far in educating drivers on traffic safety and the fact that infractions can often lead to collisions.
“This combined enforcement effort has a 30 to 40-day lasting effect on drivers who see officers out in the area,” said Commander Aaron Johnson of the RP Department of Public Safety.
When asked of Marshall what individuals can do if they see a driver make an unsafe lane change or a similar infraction, he said most times the best thing to do is to be cautious as it can be sometimes difficult to get a car’s license plate number, especially while driving.
“There is not a whole lot we can do because the officer needs to see the infraction (taking place). Take a step back, watch the driver and be cautious because they are clearly not paying attention,” Marshall said. “If they are making multiple infractions then contact us, because there might be something else going on, like driving under the influence.”
Later this month the C.I.T.E. program will be hosted by the CHP and law enforcement is reminding drivers to be mindful of the rules of road — to always come to a complete stop at a stop sign, look for others on the road and to put your phone down.
“Drivers can expect officers looking for infractions every day,” Marshall advised.