The California Highway Patrol is joining 10 other state highway patrol agencies across the nation to participate in the “I-80 Challenge,” which sets a goal of zero fatalities on the 2,900 miles of Interstate 80 from California to New York from July 24 through July 31 by enhancing traffic safety, enforcement and education along this section of the National Highway System.
“We are excited to partner with our colleagues across the nation to improve safety along the Interstate 80 corridor in California,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “California’s highways are safer when everyone follows basic traffic safety rules: always wear a seat belt, drive at a speed safe for roadway conditions, eliminate distractions while driving and always designate a sober driver.”
The “I-80 Challenge” was organized by the Iowa State Patrol after research identified an increase in traffic fatalities along Interstate 80 during the summer vacationing period. Statistically, someone dies in a collision every eight days on Interstate 80 in California. Of those fatalities, 22 percent are speed related, 4 percent are attributed to distracted driving, 27 percent are alcohol related and 30 percent involved the failure to wear a seat belt.
The CHP and its law enforcement partners across the nation are joining with motorists to accept the I-80 Challenge by promoting safe driving along the route. During the eight-day I-80 Challenge, the CHP will increase traffic safety operations to educate and, if necessary, cite drivers who violate traffic laws along the stretch of Interstate 80 that begins in San Francisco and travels through Berkeley, Vallejo, Davis, Sacramento and Truckee to the Nevada state line.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 21,000 passenger vehicle occupants across the nation were killed in traffic crashes in 2011. Of those fatalities, 52 percent were not wearing seat belts at the time of the collision. Approximately 9,900 people were killed in drunk driving crashes, with more than 3,330 killed in collisions involving a distracted driver. Nearly 10,000 lives were lost in speeding-related collisions.
Analyzing Interstate 80 collision data from 2001 to 2011 across California reveals more than 77,842 collisions or an average of 21.32 crashes each day and 498 people killed during that time frame.