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Local authorities teaming up on new campaign aimed at keeping Highway 246 safe

The California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up on a new campaign called the Driver Awareness Campaign.
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Posted at 11:51 PM, Feb 26, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-27 02:52:21-05

The California Highway Patrol and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office are teaming up on a new campaign called the Driver Awareness Campaign.

It aims to boost safety on Highway 246 and other surrounding roadways in Santa Barbara County.

“The target of this campaign is on the State Route 246 that runs from Lompoc out to the 154,” said Officer Michael Griffith of the California Highway Patrol Buellton. “We're going to be targeting unsafe driving, things that contribute to car crashes, unsafe speed, distracted driving, impaired drivers.”

Officer Griffith tells me that the agency is altering their shifts to meet the demand of traffic complaints.

He says the majority occur during the morning and afternoon hours.

In response, they plan to have more officers in place along Highway 246

“We're calling them ESOs, they're enhanced safety operations, so the community here between Lompoc, Buellton, Solvang, and in Santa Ynez will see a lot more officers out there during those peak hours, taking appropriate enforcement actions for unsafe driving,” said Griffith.

Local residents I spoke with tell me speeding is an issue in the Buellton area.

“Yeah, I see people speeding,” said David Walter, a Buellton resident.

“Yes, I think the speed zones are a little on the iffy side, but there is definitely a rise in traffic here, so that will kind of clog it up and people do speed around here,” said Buellton resident Daniel Amby.

While others tell me they see it happening closer to Lompoc.

“Not so much in town,” said another Buellton resident. “Between Buellton and towards Lompoc, not so much. But on the highway to Lompoc, probably a little higher speeds.”

Officer Griffith says they also plan to deploy officers to other areas of Santa Barbara County.

“We're also going to be moving these operations around to the 154 to the 101, and Highway 1, you know, north of Lompoc and south of Lompoc all year long,” said Griffith. The community is going to be seeing a rather significant increase in officers out on patrol.”

School zones throughout the area will also be patrolled.

“We're going to be focusing on, you know, visible patrols in the area of schools during drop off and pick up times, so if there's any parents out there that are noticing that there's either sheriff patrol vehicles or highway patrol vehicles in the area of their schools, it's because of this ESO program.”

If you notice any unsafe drivers, Officer Griffith asks you to call 911 immediately.

He says giving a detailed description of the scene will help authorities locate the driver.