CHP officers address SR-67 safety issues at RCPG meeting

Alcohol, motorcyles primary factors in fatal accidents, says CHP

By Karen Brainard

Two California Highway Patrol officers addressed safety concerns on state Route 67 at the Ramona Community Planning Group’s Aug. 2 meeting, noting speed is currently not the primary factor in fatal collisions.

CHP Lt. Tommie Cocroft listens as Officer Jeff Christy tells the Ramona Community Planning Group that speed problems on state Route 67 have decreased since several safety improvements were implemented. Sentinel photo/Karen Brainard

Lt. Tommie Cocroft from the El Cajon CHP office said that during the first two quarters of this year, specifically in Ramona, fatal collisions primarily came from motorcycles, driven mainly by East County residents.  Since the third quarter began, collisions in the East County have been primarily alcohol-related, he said.

“It’s a huge problem here for some reason,” Cocroft said, adding that it’s happening all over.

According to Cocroft, they are seeing that drivers who have been drinking often avoid the major roads and instead take backcountry roads, and that’s where the accidents are happening.

Cocroft said he has worked for CHP for 17 years, has extensive experience and knowledge of accidents in the area, and sees all the reports of fatal accidents.

“What strikes me the most is I’m not sure the community is aware that this is a huge problem, especially as it relates to motorcycles and alcohol,” he said. “They may be looking at it as a social problem, but the social problem has created drastic effects.”

Budget cuts limit the amount of CHP enforcements on the road, he said, noting that CHP staffing levels have remained the same as in the mid-1970s but the population has increased.

“I think everyone would agree that the large expansion that has happened in the East County has drastically affected the roadways,” said Cocroft.

Grant funding can go toward increased enforcement and education, he said, adding that CHP will be rolling out an educational campaign soon.

RCPG member Chad Anderson and resident Joe Minervini asked about parking an unmanned CHP car that is no longer in service as a decoy along the highway. The lieutenant said CHP has no control over former vehicles and that would need approval from Sacramento. He also said that CHP would probably be found at fault if a driver causes an accident because he slowed down on the highway to see if the decoy is a real CHP vehicle.

Resident Robin Joy Maxson suggested adding flashing lights before accident-prone curves to warn drivers to slow down, and she asked the RCPG Highway 67 Subcommittee to reach out to Caltrans, San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the CHP, and the county to request small improvements to increase safety on the roadway.

Resident Robin Joy Maxson suggests that flashing yellow lights be added on state Route 67 at accident-prone curves. Sentinel photos/Karen Brainard

Some of the recent improvements, including rumble strips, double yellow lines, yellow reflectors, and radar signs, have helped, said CHP Officer Jeff Christy, who lives in Ramona.

“Just from my experience, speed has gone way down,” he said.

Cocroft said the CHP welcomes the community’s concerns and suggestions.

Related posts:

  1. State Route 67: Options to consider
  2. Address right-of-way safety
  3. We Can’t Blame the Roads
  4. Sheriff’s Kidzwatch program teaches children about safety
  5. Officers investigate shooting on E Street

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Posted by Karen Brainard on Aug 6 2012. Filed under Backcountry, Featured Story, News, Ramona, Sheriff/Fire. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

4 Comments for “CHP officers address SR-67 safety issues at RCPG meeting”

  1. RCPG is a joke

    The last time I was at the County I actually heard employees laughing and rolling their eyes at RCPG comments. There are 15 members of the RCPG and even when a majority of them agree on solar farms, roads, head trauma facilities, the County Board of Supervisors just ignores them. The best part of RCPG is the ridiculously stupid comments that RCPG members make. Minervini is the perfect example of a little brain and a huge mouth (let’s park an abonded CHP car on the side of the road…), but he is not the only one.

    It is not even RCPGs fault, the county set them up to be a joke and then we elect people that just want to see their pictures in the paper.

    Keep ‘em coming RCPG, it is not just the County laughing anymore. Lots of people are now seeing the joke.

    • Les

      You hit the nail right on the head! I was on the RCPG for a few years and I left because of the airhead thinking. The current RCPG is a JOKE down the hill.

      • Fed Up!

        Couldn't agree with you more. I've lived here in Ramona all of my nearly 60 years and Ramona did fine until one of these self serving bozos decided this would be the best thing for the community. It wasn't and is not. The only ones benefitting are the realtors and business people who see a buck in their pocket if they can get something to go their way. The RCPG is adviserary only. They have no real power but you would think they are the end all to everything. I've never seen this town look so bad either. Nothing is enforced unless they want too. Case in point. Look at Pepi's Produce. Weeds growing everywhere and not kept up at all. Very, very dirty looking. The graffiti, the trash laying all over is unacceptable as far as I'm concern. Before anyone who disagrees with me tells me if you don't like it leave, well if you don't like what I have you can leave. It's funny how everyone wants to get away from the city yet when they get here they complain about the things we don't have here and want to change things to be what it was like where they came from. And then if someone has cows, chickens or pigs, the heat, the cold, the wind, the fires, etc. they complain about that too. What did you think you would get when you moved to the country?

  2. denverscott

    Mothers… my car was broken into. Window broken and you couldn’t respond. My dog pees on a outdoor ashtrat and you sens a deputy and a animal control off!

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