The city’s Police Department received a $105,000 grant from the state Office of Traffic Safety to fund special enforcement and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries, says a statement.
Laguna Beach ranks fourth among 108 similar sized cities for traffic fatalities and injuries in 2014, according to the most recent OTS ranking available. The ranking is based on CHP reports, which show four fatalities and 143 traffic injuries in Laguna Beach that year. In 2009, the city had earned an even worse distinction; statistics ranked Laguna as the most dangerous small city among 98 towns in the state with similar populations based on traffic fatalities and injuries, previous OTS reports show.
“It’s not unexpected; like Malibu and Huntington Beach, it’s a community that faces a huge influx of tourists,” said OTS spokesman Wayne Ziese, who noted that traffic enforcement needs are straining staffing at police agencies nationwide.
Statewide, the number of traffic fatalities has jumped 17 percent since 2010, a toll of 3,216 lives in 2015, says the agency’s most recent annual report. Another grim growth tend are statistics involving distracting technologies and pedestrians, the report said.
Deaths attributed to speed, involving motorcycles and drug-impaired drivers all declined in 2015, the report shows.
Statistics will drive agencies’ actions to reduce those figures, Ziese said. Last year, the agency allocated $85 million in federal funding to 325 agencies statewide for similar efforts. Laguna has received similar amounts from OTS in years past, the report shows.
In Laguna, the grant will underwrite DUI checkpoints and patrols, bike and pedestrian safety enforcement and other traffic safety enforcement details, says a department statement.