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Officers have ‘zero tolerance’ for traffic violations Thursday

By: Jenifer Gee Journal Staff Writer
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Motorists will need to take extra care to follow road laws today. The Auburn Area California Highway Patrol’s Zero Tolerance Day is in effect from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Highway 49 and Interstate 80. During Zero Tolerance Day, officers will emphasize violations called primary collision factors. Those factors include speeding, following too closely, unsafe lane changes and DUI. Also, seatbelt and child safety seat violations will be strictly enforced. CHP spokesman David Martinez said fast travelers driving up the mountain are one of the main problems for the Auburn division. “People who are coming up the mountain are usually traveling at a pretty high rate of speed,” Martinez said. “Our idea is to get out there and have as many officers as we can to get them to slow down.” Officers enforce driving laws on a daily basis, but will be much more strict about traffic violations on Zero Tolerance Day. The purpose of the Zero Tolerance effort is to bring awareness to the issue of unsafe driving, officials said. “By getting people to see that we’re out there in large numbers, it tends to get people to slow down and also prevent accidents,” Martinez said. Grass Valley resident Adam Stillman said while he can support the idea of Zero Tolerance, he questioned its effectiveness. “It seems just like a blank threat,” Stillman said. “It’s a good idea. I just don’t think it really works.” Auburn resident and business owner Deena Venancio said she thinks Zero Tolerance is a good idea and hope its message impacts driver habits. “I think it’s a good idea because there are too many people speeding any way,” Venancio said. “People should be accountable for getting out the door on time so they don’t have to speed.” Officials also add that drivers should remember to adjust their speed according to weather and road conditions. For example, for there is bad weather or a crowded roadway, sometimes it is not possible to drive the speed limit. Motorists are advised to use common sense, slow down and increase the distance between themselves and the vehicle in front of them. Also, always look ahead, officials caution. Martinez added that motorists talking on cell phones while driving are still a problem. “(Talking on your cell phone) is definitely impacting your attention to the roadway and your driving,” Martinez said. “We still see a lot of collisions caused because of it and it’s due to inattention.” Sending text messages while driving, Martinez said, “is flat out dangerous.” “Anyone who texts while they’re driving I’m sure has had a close call at some point,” Martinez said. Historically, the Zero Tolerance program has been very successful. Because of the large enforcement presence, there have been reductions of collisions on targeted roadways while Zero Tolerance has been in effect. The Journal's Jenifer Gee can be reached at jeniferg@goldcountrymedia.com or post a comment.