In the Temecula and Lake Elsinore valleys, there have been three motorcyclists killed this year. Additionally, 62 motorcyclists have been injured in 79 local collisions since January.
“The numbers are up,” said CHP Officer Nathan Baer, who is based out of the state agency’s Temecula office.
“This is the second busiest area in Southern California, in terms of motorcycle incidents,” said CHP Temecula office Captain Ernie Sanchez. “Pasadena is number one, with its nearby Angeles Crest Highway.”
Locally, motorcyclists come to Southwest Riverside County to enjoy rolling open space to the east, and spectacular views along the Ortega Highway to the west, Baer said.
CHP officers know all too well the “aftermath” of crashes, so the agency
Today it was announced CHP has a new partner in its campaign to save lives.
Swiss Dairy, with headquarters in Riverside, has joined the effort to bring down motorcyclist injuries and fatalities.
After undergoing an in-depth scrutiny by CHP of its equipment and driver safety record, CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow approved Swiss Dairy’s participation in his agency’s “Look Twice, Save A Life” campaign. As a result, the Swiss Dairy’s fleet of 220 trucks will display the slogan to raise awareness about the importance of watching out for motorcyclists.
“We’re trying to make it a habit among drivers to always look twice [before changing lanes or turning],” Sanchez explained.
Much like the now-ingrained practice of buckling up when behind the wheel, Sanchez hopes the message will resonate with younger drivers who can effect change on our roads.
Baer also hopes the message will get across to those who travel on two wheels.
“We still need the motorcycle community to do its part,” he explained. Lane splitting, racing on the Ortega, and general unsafe driving are common problems on local roads, Baer said.
The partnership between CHP and Swiss Dairy, which is a subsidiary of parent company Dallas, Texas-based Dean Foods, started with one man: Former-truck-driver-turned-manager Armando Jimenez.
After a 10-year career driving for Dean Foods’ Alta Dena company, Jimenez was promoted in 2000 to group fleet safety manager for Swiss Dairy’s Pacific Coast region.
“There was a lot of ‘misinterpretation’ about safety regulation,” Jimenez recalled of his early years in management. “I wanted to get that straightened out.”
Jimenez approached the CHP, which he says was enthusiastic about helping.
At the urging of Jimenez, today Swiss Dairy works closely with the CHP on everything from driver training and continuing education to safety compliance. The “Look Twice, Save A Life” logos now being displayed on the Swiss Dairy fleet are being paid for by the company, not California taxpayers, Jimenez said.
“Our commitment [to safety] extends beyond plant walls,” he added. “We’re really proud of this relationship with the CHP.”
Of Sanchez and his team, Jimenez said, “Ernie has been so proactive. They are a great asset to us.”