The Truckee Police Department has had a longstanding goal of proactively addressing traffic complaints and promoting safe driving in general. Traffic complaints within neighborhoods, especially speeding vehicles, are one of the most frequently reported complaints we receive.
The Truckee Police Department has a traffic enforcement program that creates Special Enforcement Zones by analyzing data and working with concerned neighbors to efficiently target education and enforcement in locations and times when the increased enforcement will mitigate the speeding as much as possible. Through comprehensive analysis of all the information available, we are quickly able to identify what traffic issue is present, if any, and develop a measured approach that can be collaboratively developed with the community members in any neighborhood.
At times we find that perceptions of a traffic complaint can be just as critical to address as factual data that point to an actual safety issue. This is particularly true with speeding complaints. There are numerous approaches for analyzing and addressing perceived problems but they all are dependent on communication and collaboration. An excellent example is Northwoods Boulevard in Tahoe Donner. The Police Department recently used a discreet radar device to an analyze the speed of vehicles traveling in both directions. The speed data from 15,000 vehicles revealed that 85 percent of the vehicles were traveling at 43 MPH or less in an area where the speed limit is 35 MPH. Ten percent of the speeds captured involved vehicles traveling over 46 MPH. This was cross-referenced with data collected on traffic accidents on Northwoods Blvd. A vast majority of the traffic collisions involved snow conditions and unsafe speeds for the inclement weather with very few reported in non-snow periods of the year. These facts indicate the overall driving habits in Tahoe Donner are not unsafe even though the perception is otherwise by some in the community.
The statistics aside, we still receive genuine perceptions from the community that Tahoe Donner has a traffic safety issue from speeding vehicles. The Truckee Police Department continues to be committed to communicate and collaborate to address those perceptions and concerns. In 2013 there were 93 citations issued on Northwoods Boulevard; 143 issued in 2014, and 134 issued in 2015. We have significantly increased our presence, warnings, and traffic enforcement throughout all areas of Tahoe Donner. In 2013 there were 181 citations issued in Tahoe Donner; 218 issued in 2014, and 263 issued in 2015. In addition to the citations, there were hundreds of enforcement stops conducted to bring further awareness to the issue.
Despite our best effort, the sense of traffic safety in our neighborhoods cannot be achieved until we ALL take responsibility. It is our collective responsibility as a community to slow down. Too often we hear that increased enforcement solves the complaint but the issue slowly returns once the increased police presence returns to normal. The long-term solution is for all of us to “police” ourselves and to drive on every roadway as if it were our street with our families living there. Be a neighborhood “pace car” by obeying traffic laws yourself, and by setting the example that you are committed to safer streets.
If you have a traffic issue in your neighborhood or on your street, please contact the Truckee Police Department at 530-550-2323. The more specific information given in these complaints, the better equipped we are to make a significant impact. Specific vehicle descriptions are helpful as well as times of day the violations occur. While this information is very helpful, your safety is more important. Under almost no circumstances should you follow or confront perceived violators in an effort to obtain information.
ADAM MCGILL | TOWN OF TRUCKEE CHIEF OF POLICE