A $2 million grant will allow California Highway Patrol officers in the Inland Empire to ramp up operations to deter speeding and other dangerous driving on freeways, highways and other roads throughout the region, authorities said Monday.

The CHP received the money through a Regulate Aggressive Driving & Reduce Speed (RADARS) grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and some of the funds will be allocated to the agency’s offices in Banning, Blythe, Indio, Riverside and Temecula, according to officials.

“Reckless driving behaviors are a significant threat to all who use California’s roadways,” CHP Commissioner Amanda Ray said. “The RADARS grant will provide for a focused education and enforcement campaign targeting speeding motorists and aggressive driving behaviors, including street racing and sideshow activities, to help prevent crashes resulting in death or injury.”

In fiscal year 2018-19, speed was a factor in about 45% of all injury collisions statewide, according to the CHP. Officials said 36,036 crashes injured 53,060 people and killed 335.

The CHP documented a surge in speeding activity when the public health lockdowns went into effect in the early spring of 2020. Even after the lockdowns ended, the level of unsafe driving continued. Between April 1, 2020, and Sept. 30 of this year, CHP officers issued just over 44,500 citations for motorists driving in excess of 100 mph, officials said.

The RADARS grant will support enhanced enforcement campaigns during holiday periods, but also other times between now and Sept. 30, 2022, according to the CHP.

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