Stepping up law enforcement along Highway 1, Buellton’s CHP office is reminding drivers of the rules of the road after three fatal accidents in one week.
"We have had in the last year, four fatalities on Highway 1, and that’s not usual for us. That seems to be an increase. So we’re trying to focus enforcement in several areas to try and reduce those numbers," explained Sgt. Eric Zivic of the CHP.
Typically one officer patrols this 20 mile stretch of highway, but on Tuesday that all changed. Officers have now been added to patrol the highway during popular commute times in the mornings and evenings.
"We are here just to remind them to slow down. We have two signs that remind motorists that it’s 55 miles per hour and also to remind them to not be on their cells phones, always wear your seat belt and pay attention to the roadway," said Officer Felipe Hernandez.
While there are some improvements coming to the roadway on Highway 1, the CHP says many of these accidents are being caused by driver error.
"That roadway is currently being resurfaced in areas by Caltrans, and so we’re going to make sure that Caltrans installs rumble strips on the shoulders and center lines so that fatigued drivers are alerted if they drift off the roadway. We encourage the public to focus on driving when they’re driving, reducing distracted driving, making sure that you don’t have a cell phone in your hand. Hands-free and Bluetooth are all important things to enhance your safety. Also, always designate a driver. Impaired driving is an issue on our roads," Sgt. Zivic explained.
It’s unclear at this time how many days there will be extra officers riding along Highway 1, but the CHP office tells KSBY the agency is getting a grant in October to add patrols in this area alongside Santa Barbara’s CHP.