California agencies pony up for highway safety project

| 12/18/2002

Two California agencies voted to approve $50,000 each in annual funding for a three-year extension of the "Safe on 17" traffic enforcement project, the Metropolitan Transportation Commission announced Dec. 17.

The program pays for 2,000 hours of additional California Highway Patrol enforcement each year along state Highway 17. The Santa Cruz County Regional Transportation Commission and the San Francisco Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission are paying for the effort.

The portion of Highway 17 involved runs from the south part of the San Francisco Bay area, near San Jose, south to the Pacific Coast near the city of Santa Cruz. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission said in a statement that the program had brought about a dramatic reduction in collisions during the past three years.

From 1999 to 2001, total collisions on the road decreased 59 percent and injury collisions decreased 67 percent.

A task force that included the two transit panels, CHP, Caltrans, local law enforcement and fire departments, legislators' offices and the media launched a campaign to educate the public, distributing brochures and bumper stickers, issuing press releases and using highway signs to urge motorists to slow down and drive safely. In addition, Caltrans repaved the highway and made other safety improvements.

The initial three-year project was funded by the state Office of Traffic Safety.