01/27/07 4:25 PST


San Rafael police will kick off a special traffic enforcement program and campaign for safer streets tonight with a driving under the influence roving patrol.

According to San Rafael police Sgt. Glenn McElderry, a recent $377,517 Selective Traffic Enforcement Program grant will allow the San Rafael Police Department to purchase new equipment and plan for special traffic enforcement measures in an effort to reduce the number of victims injured or killed in traffic collisions.

"Traffic safety remains the number one concern in San Rafael,'' San Rafael police Chief Matt Odetto said in a written statement.

The grant will pay for traffic enforcement programs such as DUI and driver license checkpoints, DUI roving patrols, red light and speed enforcement and a system to identify repeat DUI offenders and those who drive with suspended driver licenses. The grant will also be used to pay for two new police motorcycles, three handheld "Lidar'' units used for speed enforcement, a collision reconstruction system and a radar/LED solar message display trailer.

"This grant will allow the Police Department to focus more resources toward enforcement and education which will ultimately make our roadways safer,'' Odetto added.

A grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration provided funding for the program.

"When more people buckle up and drive sober and safely, we save lives. It's just that simple,'' Director of the Office of Traffic Safety Christopher J. Murphy said in a written statement.