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Community asks for increased CHP enforcement on local highway and gets it

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A stretch of SR 154 near Los Olivos

Central Coast CHP officers are stepping efforts along Santa Barbara County's Highway 154 following an uptick in traffic collisions. 

The California Highway Patrol said Thursday that it had requests from the public to address the problem, and so it is.

Officer Jonathan Gutierrez told KCBX that last year traffic collisions along the stretch from roughly Los Olivos to the San Marcos Pass were up 12 percent over the five-year historic average. Injury collisions were up 23 percent.

Gutierrez said a grant to address drunken driving in the area is helping the CHP staff this increased enforcement effort. That aspect started last fall and appears to be showing results.

"July tenth of last year was the last time we had a DUI fatal on the 154," said Gutierrez. "So, we started this in October, so we'd like to think that possibly a contributing factor is having more officers out there and possibly curbing that."

So far this year, overall traffic collisions are on pace to match last year; but fatalities, injuries and alcohol-related collisions are significantly lower.