Injury Collisions Down 10%, Police Urge Caution Through the Holidays

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Field Support Division Commander Michael Beckman, accompanied by Traffic Enforcement Section Lt. Kristopher Klein, stressing the importance of roadway safety, especially during the busy holiday season.

LBPD Field Support Division Commander Michael Beckman, accompanied by Traffic Enforcement Section Lt. Kristopher Klein, stressing the importance of roadway safety, especially during the busy holiday season.

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’re a motorist, a bicyclist, or a pedestrian.

Year to date, 26 traffic collisions in the city have resulted in the deaths of 27 persons. For purposes of comparison, in 2012, 31 persons lost their lives in traffic collisions. Of course, even one death is tragic when one considers that many collisions can be prevented. So far in 2013, the most common causes in fatal traffic collisions have been speeding, unsafe turning movements, and pedestrian-related offenses, including crossing a roadway outside of a crosswalk and crossing against a red light.

Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell stated, “When you look at the sheer number of collisions that have occurred, and the injury and devastation they cause to everyone involved, we have to remind ourselves that it is all of our responsibility to remain focused while on the roadway.”

Injury traffic collisions, while fewer in number than this time last year, remain problematic. Between January and November 2013, 1,277 injury traffic collisions occurred citywide. This translates to a 10.2% decrease in collisions compared to the same time period in 2012. Summarily, 145 fewer injuries were sustained by motorists and pedestrians than at this point last year. While pleased with the reduction, Long Beach Police Commander Michael Beckman, who oversees the department’s Traffic Section, said more work is needed to keep those who use the road safe. “We remain committed to consistently improving roadway safety in Long Beach, especially during the holiday season, through our numerous traffic enforcement efforts and educational campaigns,” Beckman stated. “These efforts will particularly include the issuance of citations for traffic offenses, when appropriate, and operations to locate and arrest drunk drivers,” he said.

Drunk driving, while a year round problem, is historically so during the holidays. Citywide through October 2013, there were 327 DUI-related traffic collisions. During the same time period, officers arrested 706 persons in the city for DUI. Officers and volunteers routinely work together during the holiday season to facilitate state grant funded DUI checkpoints, and designated 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 October 2013, the department has issued over 4,900 citations for unlawful cell phone usage, including texting violations. “Just one second of inattention while driving could lead to a tragedy and a lifetime of pain and remorse for anyone involved in a distraction-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.

L.B.P.D. wants to see you in 2014! In order to keep your holidays happy and safe, we encourage all residents to follow these traffic safety tips, which may help prevent you from becoming involved in a collision:

  • Buckle up and pay attention while on the road for vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians
  • Preplan your driving routes and allow plenty of time to navigate and reach your destinations
  • Pay attention to roadway and traffic conditions and drive accordingly, always obeying the speed limit
  • Do not talk on the phone, text, read, or do anything else that could distract you
  • Motorists and bicyclists! Using earbud headsets in both ears while driving or riding a bicycle is illegal and increases the risk for injury or death
  • Always designate a driver when drinking, or otherwise utilize a taxi service
  • Pedestrians should always use a crosswalk and look both ways before crossing, even when they have the right-of-way
  • Never ignore a red light or other traffic control devices/signs
  • Remember, it is ultimately more important to get to your location safely instead of quickly

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