Traffic collisions are a leading cause of death and injury in California and the number one cause of death for people between the ages of one and 44.
High-visibility enforcement programs (HVEs) are administered nationwide by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and combine intensive enforcement of a particular traffic safety law with widespread media and public education campaigns. HVE programs have been shown to be effective in reducing alcohol-impaired driving and promoting seat belt use. A major challenge in implementing HVEs, however, exists among local police agencies, which have competing priorities for limited staff and funding. Maximizing the chance that local agencies will participate in HVEs requires a user-friendly, streamlined program that allows these public sector agencies to be accountable, efficient, and effective.
In California, the Office of Traffic Safety fostered a partnership with the University of California, Berkeley Traffic Safety Center to administer HVE campaigns to target impaired driving and non-use of seat belts. Several benefits have resulted from this partnership, including 1) streamlined, electronic administration of HVE grants featuring the use of user-friendly computer and Internet technology to process online applications, grant documents, and administrative processes, which resulted in problematic applications (due to errors) being reduced to zero, 2) planned increase in HVE program effectiveness by targeting high-risk areas and issues, and 3) increased flexibility in program planning and administration.
In addition to improving service delivery for the HVE programs in California, this model will provide useful lessons learned as the State plans automated grant management systems.