Accidents down, speeding tickets up

chpcarWhen CHP Captain Andrea Witmer stood up recently to talk to the Bishop City Council, she revealed large downturns in accidents and a sharp upturn in speeding citations.  Captain Witmer told Sierra Wave later that she and her officers have focused all year long on the three big violations – speed, seat belts and driving under the influence.  Cell phone use while driving is not far behind.

Captain Witmer said compared to 2010, 2011 saw a 12% drop in fatal accidents, a 22% drop in total injury collisions and a 10% drop in total accidents.  Bishop CHP officers also handed out 744 more speeding citations.

DUI cases went up 11% with 24 more arrests over the previous year.  Seat belt citations jumped up 42% with 232 more citations.  The Captain added that with the 7 fatal accidents in 2010, 5 of those people would have lived, she said, if they had worn a seat belt.

So, does all of this mean a change in enforcement strategies?  Captain Witmer said she just makes it a habit to share how things are going with her officers and what to expect.  Witmer said she believes highway experiences make the officers more aware of how to deal with violations.

Are there arrest or citation quotas?  No, said Witmer.  She said quotas are illegal.

Cell phone violations – manual use of a phone or texting while driving will loom large on the CHP radar this year.  Last year, the State issued a report on the dangers of cell phone use while driving.  Captain Witmer warns motorists that it only takes a split second not to see a pedestrian, cyclist or another car.  “You have to ask yourself,” she said, “if you’re ready to go to jail for manslaughter.”  A grim warning.

On a more upbeat note, the Captain invites local residents to bring their child safety seats to the Bishop headquarters to make sure they are correctly installed and to make sure they have not expired.

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27 Responses to Accidents down, speeding tickets up

  1. JJ January 31, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

    The average CHP officer makes 100k a year with overtime and can retire at 50 years old with 3 percent of their final compensation times the number of years they have. That means a 30 year employee at 100k a year can make 90k a year in retirement….sign me up! Oh, and it is really sad when the number of law enforcement outnumbers the number of actual cars on the road in a given day! I am all for law enforcement, but given that our State is broke, maybe their should be a redistribution of officers to more populated areas of the state…just sayin, but I’m moving out of this police state next year anyway…my taxes are too high paying for retirements.

  2. JJ January 31, 2012 at 8:25 pm #

    Maybe we should all be fined every time we speed. I bet 99.9 percent of all of you speed every day . In England you get fined based on your income. 310.00 dollars is a lot of money to some and a joke to others.

  3. Ken Warner January 31, 2012 at 11:34 am #

    It’s scary to think I have to share the road with people who think they should be able to drive as fast as they want without any regard to the consequences and use any childish rationalization to justify their childish viewpoint.

    Really? Driving the speed limit is some kind of government plot to take your money and your freedom? Really?

    Good grief…

  4. Bemused January 31, 2012 at 9:07 am #

    Pretending this is about public safety, rather than revenue generation, is an insult to our collective intelligence…

    • Rob January 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

      I don’t care if it’s about money or not. People need to slow down and getting a few speeding tickets will make that happen for most people. Get smart or it’s going to get expensive.

      I’m not in law enforcement and I tip my ‘cowboy’ hat to our CHP!

      pull em over, write em up!

  5. Roy January 31, 2012 at 8:38 am #

    Having spent 30 years as a law enforcement officer I can say cops have never had a ticket quota,.,. We can write as many as we want..

    • Long arm of the law February 1, 2012 at 10:00 am #

      You’re probably right about the quotas but in government law enforcement just like every department needs to “justify” their expenditures throughout the fiscal year to the Legislature and while a “quota system” as the general public knows it probably doesn’t exist the Department is required to justify their “increased resources and operating expenses” and showing an upward swing of citations in a given area creates the “justification” for more officers, higher salaries, and better equipment….so a “quota” doesn’t exist, but “justification of expenditures” through citations does.

  6. Lovestereotypes January 30, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    1. No such thing as quotas
    2. Donuts are so 1970…cops nowdays prefer whole wheat bagels. Duh.

  7. Jose January 30, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

    about when you get pulled over for no reason… Because you look hispanic and cops think you are illegal and don’t have a license that doesn’t give them the right to pull you over. just like everyone else we need transportation to get to work everyday.

    my friend got pulled over for been hispanic and got a $500 dollar ticket. by the way that was the only charge he got.

    • Ken Warner January 31, 2012 at 11:37 am #

      There is no such thing as being given a $500 ticket for being Hispanic. That’s nuts. If the guy was given a $500 ticket then the officer was right to pull him over.

      What exactly was the ticket for? And don’t try to tell us it was for “Driving while Hispanic”…

    • Terry January 31, 2012 at 12:35 pm #

      If yo friend speek like u write, ticket should have ben $1000 US dollar. If yo frnd illegal, he shud hav ben givn free ride to bordr and sent homie.

  8. Really January 30, 2012 at 10:56 pm #

    To nothappy……so are you saying that since you were only breaking the law a little and others were breaking the law a lot more, they should let you slide and only go after the other guys? Amazing.

    The way to avoid having to pay the 310 ticket is to go the speed limit. Plain and simple.

    If your car requires you to speed to get enough power to make it up the grade, time for a new car.

  9. Bret M January 30, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

    When the Government fears the people it is liberty, when the people fear the Government it is tyranny.
    How many fear those lights going on in the back of you while you drive???

  10. Big Rick O'Brien January 30, 2012 at 9:40 pm #

    395 is what cruise control is for. Set mine at 69,70, stay in the slow lane except to pass grampa in his winnebago,= no moving violations in 20 yrs.

  11. Wayne Deja January 30, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Whoever thinks speeding and/or unsafe driving is not a problem…and should not be dealt with a heavy hand-on method by Law Enforcement on HWY.395 maybe should have been driving south of Lone Pine on Friday nite,or had their police scanners on, and seen what the consequences can be when drivers are not paying attention,or speeding…even if it is “just” 10 MPH over the limit.

    • JaneE January 31, 2012 at 2:02 pm #

      I was there. By the time the traffic got moving it was difficult to see how many were involved, but there were at least two vehicle remains on flatbed tow trucks. I was about 3/4 mile back. Naturally it was in the two lane portion of 395.

      On our trip up that night we were passed by three different cars in the mandatory no passing zones. Only one of them actually managed to pass the slower vehicle at the head of the line before we came to a passing zone. One managed to scare an oncoming driver enough to put him on the shoulder. I don’t know if any of these cars were involved in the wreck, but they could easily have been. I hope that they were ticketed. It probably won’t change their behavior, but at least it will cost them something.

  12. Long arm of the law January 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm #

    “Quotas” laughable; it’s interesting to note that as of January 1, 2012 the State of Taxifornia also raised almost every traffic citation……Coincidental? No, not because the State is broke and County’s get a share of the “bail” amount. When it comes to tickets the “winners” are police, the State, and Local jurisdictions.

    • upthecreek January 31, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

      @Long arm of the law..
      You sir are 100% correct and 100% AWAKE

  13. Bobbie Lee Swagger January 30, 2012 at 7:06 pm #

    and in related news, donut sales have soared in Bishop. Shop owners are unsure if there’s a connection between the sharp rise in chocolate-covered sales and the increased revenue accruing to local law enforcement due to citiation-writing (over) zealousness. They did say they hope the trend the continues, the donut sale one; the ticket writing one not so much.

  14. charlesojones January 30, 2012 at 6:22 pm #

    Thank you to Captain Witmer and her officers for doing a good job.

    I frequently travel the 395 in Owen’s Valley and I have noticed that the average speed seems to be lower since enforcement has picked up. Fewer speeders and fewer aggressive drivers makes a safer highway for everyone.

    Please, keep up the good work.

    • Terry January 30, 2012 at 8:11 pm #

      Well said from a former CHP employee, Charlie. The state is broke and this translates into “we will write a lot more tickets and issue a lot less warnings”.

      • upthecreek January 31, 2012 at 10:36 pm #

        Dont worry Be happy…

        Just look at as a donation to a out of control bankrupt State and a future pension payment for the police dept/county.

        Terry glad to see the former CHP employee knows the truth


    • Rob January 31, 2012 at 10:37 am #

      “Captain Witmer and her officers for doing a good job”

      Absolutely! It’s good to see all the CHP’s out on the road. I think they’re doing a fantastic job. It’s not about money, it’s about saving lives.

      I have no problem with them citing for 10mph over the speed limit.

      Please slow down people, life is short enough as it is.

  15. nothappy January 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    I was pulled over going 10 mph over the speed limit just prior to hitting the grade. I have an older vehicle that needs to get its RPM’s up to at “least” get up the grade. While the Sheriff was writing out my ticket cars were going by us alot faster then 10 mph over the limit.
    Just seems to me they should pick on the people that are really going the way my ticket is $310.
    Was I a hazard to traffic or did they need to make their quotas…wait they are illegal. Gotta wonder.

    • Jon Boyer January 30, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      By admission you were going 75 in a 65. So tell me, what’s the cutoff point the officer should use? It’s obviously not 10 over so is it 15 over, 20 over? Help me out here. Define “really fast.”

      Bottom line: Don’t exceed the posted speed limit, don’t get a ticket. Simple.

  16. JJ January 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm #

    It’s because we live in a police state. Nothing to brag about here.

    • upthecreek January 31, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

      yes we do….

      Accidents down and PENSIONS UP.
      the true story


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