27 August 2016

Carbon Canyon Traffic Enforcement Yields 46 Citations

As reported by Josh Thompson in today's Champion, a dedicated traffic enforcement operation on Carbon Canyon Road along the Chino Hills portion of the state highway on 18 August yielded 46 citations.

Infractions included speeding, following too close to the vehicle ahead and, the article states, unsafe lane changes.  Presumably the latter means passing, because this is prohibited the entire length of the highway (yet goes on all the time.)

What wasn't stated is what time of day the operation took place.  Newly appointed captain Darren Goodman was quoted as saying, "if we have to write more tickets to get people to drive safety, then we will."  He went on to suggest that, "the operations thus far have been successful in curtailing some of the unsafe driving practices."

Whether this is really the case remains to be seen.  As noted above, it depends very much on time of day and day of the week.  The 18th was a Thursday and if the operation was during daylight hours, that is a big difference from a Friday or Saturday late evening, which is when many, if not most, of the worse excesses in driving take place.

Moreover, if this operation is a one-off, rather than part of a regular effort and by that it is meant consistent, certainly not daily or even weekly, enforcement, then it is impossible to state that "curtailing some of the unsafe driving practices" can be known.

Notably, Captain Goodman made reference to the fact that "many residents would enjoy seeing a reduction in commercial vehicle usage in the canyon," before stating that it was not possible to prevent such use because Carbon Canyon Road is a state highway.

This was a big issue for some local residents who held meetings and lobbied the city and CalTrans to do something.  The result was a series of signs in both Brea and Chino Hills that are advisory for vehicles longer than 50 feet.  Clearly, these signs are about as effective as speed limit and other warning signs here and elsewhere--in other words, there are still plenty of trucks longer than 50 feet that drive the highway.  A sign is essentially ineffective without on-locale enforcement.

Which goes back to the operation of the 18th.  It is great that the department did this and shows that there is a modicum of concern for the ongoing problem of unsafe driving on Carbon Canyon Road.  But, hopefully, the effort doesn't stop with the one dedicated day of enforcement, especially given the weekday and, presumably, daylight time for the operation.

The worst examples of dangerous driving are weekend evenings and a truly effective enforcement program would target those days and times, although it is understood that there is a greater cost to the department in doing so.  And, again, this enforcement has to be somewhat regular and consistent, so that drivers understand that there is a demonstrable presence, rather than a one-time promotional effort.

So, kudos to the department for carrying out this operation.  Let's see if there is any follow-up.

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