The results of a nearly yearlong grant-funded effort to reduce drunken driving incidents along Interstate 15 in Riverside County were announced Wednesday.
Received and administered by the Temecula and Riverside area California Highway Patrol offices, the federal grant allowed for an added 1,780 patrol hours along the I-15, including through Southwest Riverside County, and concluded on Sept. 30.
Based on the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, the averages of four people killed and 63 others injured in alcohol-involved collisions on this stretch of I-15—from Highway 79 in Temecula to the San Bernardino County line—were reduced to one person killed and 30 injured, according to a news release.
“Although one fatality and 30 alcohol-involved injuries are too many, we are pleased to see the 75 percent reduction in fatalities and 52 percent reduction in injuries,” said CHP Capt. Ernie Sanchez, commander of the Temecula Area office.
Sanchez gave due credit to members of a local task force, “Arrive Alive on I-15,” that was formed to implement the grant.
According to Sanchez, the task force was comprised of representatives from CHP Temecula and Riverside offices; Lake Elsinore, Murrieta and Temecula Police Departments; Riverside County Sheriff’s Department; Mothers Against Drunk Driving; Caltrans-District 8; Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone; Riverside County District Attorney’s Office; Murrieta Valley Unified School District School Board Members; Temecula Public/Traffic Safety Commission representatives; DCH Auto Group/Student Against Destructive Decisions; Giant RV (Murrieta); JONBOY’s Incorporated; and local residents and neighborhood watch groups.
“This is a perfect example of local stakeholders coming together with one purpose in mind; and by doing so, all of us, our families and friends, traveled even more secure while using this (45.3-mile) stretch of the I-15,” Sanchez said.
Funding for the program was provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Although the grant period has concluded, Sanchez said task force members have committed to continue serving in their capacity in order to continue focusing on and addressing a local public safety issues of concern.
The group is meeting today to discuss its goals moving forward. --By Maggie Avants