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Zero Tolerance Day cracks down on traffic violations

CHP warns that motorists need to slow down, watch roadways
By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Auburn motorists will have an extra reason to watch the road next week. California Highway Patrol officers will enforce a Zero Tolerance Day Tuesday in an effort to promote safe, defensive driving. “The goals of Operation Zero Tolerance are to reduce the total number of accidents in south Placer County and educate the motoring public on the importance of driving safely to prevent traffic accidents,” said CHP Commander Rick Ward in a news release. “A large segment of the motoring public has forgotten that driving is a privilege — not a right.” CHP spokesman Dave Montijo added that roadways are “very dangerous” for motorists and for officers. He said most people are surprised to discover that the majority of officer on-duty deaths are from being run over when they are stopping for a traffic collision or safety violation on the roadway. “Whatever you can do to limit your time on the side of the highway is good because the freeway is such a dangerous place,” Montijo said. Montijo said motorists should keep that in mind if an officer pulls them over on zero tolerance day or any other day. “People spend a lot of time arguing and they find the officer to be curt,” Montijo said. “There’s a big reason for that: We don’t like to be there. We like to limit our time on the side of the road.” Montijo said the place for motorists to argue a traffic violation is in court. On Tuesday, officers will be on the look out for motorists traveling any degree over the speed limit or not wearing their seat belt and a variety of other infractions ranging from minor to serious. The highway patrol has continually planned zero tolerance days with some being announced to the public while others have not. Officials report that since instituting zero tolerance days in 2003, they have seen a “sizable” decrease in the number of vehicle accidents on county roadways including Interstate 80, highways 49, 65 and 193 as well as 1,100 miles of county roads. Weather also plays a factor into road safety, Montijo said. He recommends that motorists traveling to the mountains always carry chains. “That will save you time, aggravation and money,” Montijo said. He said motorists should drive between 25 to 35 mph maximum, per Caltrans’ recommendation, when they have chains on their tires. “Increasing your following distance is a huge one because your car is not going to stop as well in the snow, even with chains,” Montijo said. He also advised that drivers not over drive their headlights and apply a three-second rule to following the car in front of them. A few other tips include checking the weather report at your destination and carrying a cold weather pack in your car. The pack can include a variety of items from warm clothes and food to water and a good jack. Ward added that motorists need to remember that driving is not the time to check cell phones, eat, read a newspaper or take part in any other distraction. “The only task that drivers should be focusing on is their driving,” Ward said. “When you couple inattention with speeding, the end result is often deadly.” The Journal’s Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment. ---------- Tips if you’re getting pulled over: Immediately pull off to the right shoulder Turn on your signal light and point ahead if you want to indicate to the officer that you’ll take the next exit The officer will announce any further instructions over their public address system Keep your time on the side of the road brief to avoid being hit by a motorist drifting to the side of the road Keep your seatbelt on and remain in your car if possible ----------