With the holiday season in full swing, the Long Beach Police Department is encouraging everyone to be cautious on the roadways, follow all traffic laws, and always pay attention whether you are a motorist, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian.
Year to date, 14 traffic collisions in the city have resulted in the deaths of 15 persons, a decrease of over 44% compared to 2013 when 27 persons lost their lives in traffic collisions. Of course, even one death is tragic when one considers that many collisions are preventable. So far in 2014, the most common causes in fatal traffic collisions have been pedestrian-related offenses (including crossing a roadway outside of a crosswalk and crossing against a red light), speeding, and unsafe turning movements. Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna stated, “The holiday season can be a very busy time causing many people to lose focus, and disregard the rules of the road. Drivers are reminded to buckle-up, watch their speed, stay off their phones, and designate a driver if they’re going to be drinking. We want everyone to safely enjoy the holiday season.”
An increase in citywide injury traffic collisions is cause for concern. Between January and November 2014, 1,532 injury traffic collisions occurred citywide. This translates to a 19.8% increase in injury traffic collisions compared to the same time period in 2013. Troubled by the increase, Long Beach Police Commander Michael Beckman, who oversees the department’s Traffic Section, said more work is needed to keep those who use our roads safe. “We are committed to improving roadway safety in Long Beach, especially during the holiday season, through our many traffic enforcement efforts and educational campaigns,” Beckman stated. “These efforts include the issuance of citations for traffic offenses, when appropriate, and operations to locate and arrest drunk drivers,” he said.
Drunk driving, while a persistent threat to lives and property, is especially so during the holidays. Between January and November 2014, there were 286 DUI-related traffic collisions in the city, which is a 13% reduction from the same time period in 2013. Between January and November 2014, officers arrested 1,019 persons in the city for DUI, an increase of 31% compared to 2013. Efforts to prevent drunk driving and remove intoxicated drivers from local roadways are especially important during the holiday season when officers and volunteers gather to facilitate State of California grant-funded DUI checkpoints and DUI officers conduct citywide saturation patrols.
Other traffic collision factors have included offenses attributed to distracted driving, namely by motorists unlawfully using cell phones and texting while driving. Through November 2014, the department has issued over 2,280 citations for unlawful cell phone usage, including texting violations. “A split-second of inattention while driving could lead to a tragedy and a lifetime of pain and remorse for anybody involved in a distracted-related collision,” Beckman said. As a result, ongoing efforts to strictly enforce the rules of the road are intended to prevent the loss of life, especially during the holiday season when people are rushed, have social engagements to attend, shopping to get done, and are prone to distractions. “Our primary traffic enforcement objective is always to heighten awareness of the crucial need for safe driving practices and to attain motorists’ compliance with the law,” Beckman stated.
LBPD wants to see you in 2015! In order to keep your holidays happy and safe, LBPD encourages all residents to follow these traffic safety tips, which may help prevent you from becoming involved in a traffic collision: