Local offices beefing up enforcement on July 4 weekend


By Star staff

Grant funding has allowed the California Highway Patrol to provide more enforcement on local highways this year, but traffic safety ultimately depends on drivers’ behavior, a CHP spokesman said Thursday morning in Los Olivos.

Lt. Kurt Kruse, commander of the Buellton CHP station, led a press conference in which he emphasized the need for drivers to behave responsibly with the arrival of the July 4 weekend and the summer season of vacation travel.

In the 18 months since January 2015, he said, the CHP has issued 4,600 traffic citations and made 61 arrests for driving under the influence in the Santa Ynez Valley.

Since Oct. 1, 2015, extra funding has been provided for one year by a grant from the federal Office of Traffic Safety. The grant expires on Sept. 30.

In the nine months since the grant funding began in October, CHP has written 848 citations, made 12 DUI arrests and made 172 “other enforcement contacts” on Highway 154. Officers have also made 27 educational presentations, including Thursday’s press conference, Kruse added.

He promised heavy traffic enforcement over the July 4 weekend and pleaded with drivers to rest when tired, use a designated driver when drinking, avoid tailgating, ignore cell phones, use seatbelts for all passengers, and use child safety seats for anyone under 8 years old or 4 feet, 9 inches tall.

To reach the CHP office at 166 Industrial Way in Buellton, call 688-5551.