Police seek to improve safety by targeting careless motorists

MONTEREY PARK - The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Risk Management Bureau/Traffic Services Detail will be conducting a specialized Motorcycle Safety Enforcement Operation on February 24, 2012 in the City of Pico Rivera in an effort to continue lowering deaths and injuries. Extra deputies will be on duty patrolling areas frequented by motorcyclists and where motorcycle crashes occur.Deputies will be looking for drivers and riders who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol and cracking down on traffic violations made by motorcyclists as well as other vehicle drivers that can lead to motorcycle collisions, injuries, and fatalities. After ten years of steadily increasing motorcycle fatalities in California, increasing 175 percent from 204 killed in 1998 to 560 killed in 2008, the trend has changed. Two consecutive years of fewer motorcycle fatalities - 394 in 2009 and 352 in 2010 - have resulted in a 37 percent decrease since the 2008 peak. This is a positive trend that we want to see continue. In the area policed by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department, there was a 390 percent increase in motorcyclists injured over the last 13 years with 47 injured in 1998 and 184 in 2011. There was a 300 percent increase in motorcyclists killed over the same time period with 2 killed in 1998 and 6 killed in 2011. California collision data reveals that primary causes of motorcycle-involved crashes include speeding, unsafe turning and impairment due to alcohol and other drugs. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is also reminding all motorists to always be alert and watch out for motorcycles, especially when turning and changing lanes. Some of the reduction in riders killed can be attributed to fewer improperly licensed riders. In 2009, that statistic fell to only 45.5 percent. Riders, young and old, are encouraged to be properly licensed and to seek training and safety information. "The terrible trend of rising motorcyclist fatalities has been reversed, though there is more that everyone can do to save more lives. Riders and drivers need to respect each other and share the road," said California Office of Traffic Safety Director, Christopher J. Murphy.

********** Published: February 16, 2012 - Volume 10 - Issue 44