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CHP Wins National Award for Highway 17 Safety

'Safe on 17' task force is recognized for its work.

A local California Highway Patrol task force has garnered national recognition for its efforts on keeping Highway 17 safe.

The “Safe on 17” task force was the recipient of this year’s Peter K. O’Rourke Special Achievement Award for outstanding highway safety achievement in 2011.

Last year marked the first year on record that no fatalities occurred on the highway. Since the task force was founded in 1999, collisions have decreased by 49 percent.

“This was no mistake,” said CHP Capt. Matt Olson, commander of the Santa Cruz Area office. “Many lives have been saved and injuries have been prevented as a direct result of the enormous efforts, collaboration, and cooperation of the many agencies which comprise the ‘Safe on 17’ Task Force.”

Along with implementing strategies in enforcement, engineering, education and emergency services to prevent collisions and reduce their severity, the task force provides overtime funding for additional CHP enforcement. This has resulted in increased safety, service, and security for motorists.

“Aggressive drivers are stopped before they cause a crash, disabled motorists are moved to a safer location, and collisions are cleared faster to expedite the flow of traffic and prevent secondary collisions,” the CHP said.

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