Chico Police Department introduces Traffic Unit, designed to stop dangerous driving

The Chico Police Department formally announced the implementation of a 3-officer Traffic Unit which will focus on speeders, right-of-way violators and distracted drivers.

"Bottom line is that we can't be using our cell phones when we're driving a car," said Todd Lefkowitz, the Traffic Unit supervisor. "There are people on the road that aren't paying attention and aren't driving safely."

One officer will patrol evenings focusing on drunk drivers.

Police Chief Mike O'Brien said that schools will also receive special attention.

The additional officers, who will drive motorcycles, were funded by the City of Chico.

Police will also focus on Chico's many roads that have line-of-sight issues, where long and straight roads tend to lure drivers into going faster than the posted speed limit.

O'Brien, who noted 16 traffic-related deaths inside city limits in the last three years, hopes just the mere threat of a ticket will change bad driving habits.

"When you think you may get a ticket or be pulled over, it engenders better driving behavior," said O'Brien.

O'Brien said the traffic unit is not designed to be a money maker, as the city only receives approximately one percent of the costs of a citation.

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