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55 Ticketed, 1 Arrested During Extra Traffic Enforcement Operation on Friday

‘I believe our daily efforts and the efforts of these directed enforcement programs reduce injuries and save lives.’ - Pasadena Police Lt. Anthony Russo

Published on Monday, February 1, 2021 | 1:07 pm
 
(Photos by James Carbone via Pasadena Police Dept.)

Police wrote 55 tickets and arrested one driver during a citywide traffic enforcement operation on Friday, officials said.

Sixteen of the citations were for speeding, while the other 39 were for various other traffic offenses, including unsafe turns, distracted driving, sign violations, and administrative violations, said Pasadena police Lt. Anthony Russo.

Officers arrested one person for driving on a suspended or revoked license, and one vehicle was impounded, Russo added.

Friday’s extra enforcement period was one of many held on an ongoing basis by the Pasadena Police Department, with funding provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Administration. Some focus particularly on DUI, distracted driving, or pedestrian and bicycle safety, while some, like Friday, focus on general traffic safety.

“Typically we focus on those violations that are commonly associated with the primary collision factors of the accidents we investigate,” Russo said. “We also respond to citizen complaints in specific areas during our general traffic enforcement programs.”

It’s not just about tickets, the lieutenant said.

“I think there is a misconception that a traffic officer’s goal is to write tickets. Our goal is to make the streets safer for everyone,” he said.

“Our officers are the ones responding to traffic collisions on a daily basis. In some cases, these accidents result in serious or fatal injuries, which in many cases were preventable,” according to Russo. “Our primary effort is to slow people down, make them more aware and reduce the behavior that leads to preventable collisions resulting in injury or death.”

The ongoing pandemic seems to have affected traffic patterns and trends, he said.

“In the early going, we saw a significant decrease in road traffic, but that led to higher speeds and people paying less attention to the road,” Russo said. “Despite fewer accidents, the accidents were more severe during this time, and efforts were made across the state to slow people down. Speed and distracted driving are common factors associated with collisions and are always a focus of our operations.”

The effect traffic enforcement has on public driving habits can be difficult to assess, “but common sense, personal experience, and my training tell us our enforcement efforts make a difference,” the lieutenant said.

“When people see police, they typically become aware of their driving. They slow down, they buckle up, they put the phone down or take extra precautions; because no one wants to get pulled over,” Russo said. “This alone has an impact on safety but would be difficult to measure.

“Every time we contact a driver we are educating them and changing behavior. For how long,  we don’t know. But if we issue a citation for, say, speeding, there is a good chance that person will be more mindful of their speed in the future,  at least for some time,” he said.

When conducting specialized bike and pedestrian safety enforcement campaigns, a recent study performed by an outside agency determined officers were “more likely to educate cyclists and pedestrians with warnings and issue citations to vehicles making the more dangerous violations,” according to Russo.

“I believe our daily efforts and the efforts of these directed enforcement programs reduce injuries and save lives, but we can’t be everywhere at once,” he added. “We continue to make our best effort to keep the streets of Pasadena safe for all.”

With restaurants and bars returning to outdoor service, Russo warned Pasadenans to not get behind the wheel after drinking.

“The time saved speeding home, answering the text while driving or driving impaired won’t matter if you don’t make it,” he said. “One poor decision can change the lives of multiple people in an instant. Relax, slow down, pull over if needed and get home safe. You made it through 2020. Let’s keep it going.”

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